Tokyo Gears Up for the Future

With more than 37 million people living in greater Tokyo, the city is probably the largest metropolitan area in the world, giving it a bustling feel. As the 2020 Summer Olympic Games are approaching, Tokyo is growing even busier with preparations on its infrastructure, transportation and human resources. However, these plans are but a small part of what Tokyo is envisaging for the future in other sectors, building on the important groundwork it has already laid.

Looking at statistics, the city appears in the top 10 cities worldwide of almost every financial ranking. Half of all major Japanese corporations are headquartered here as well as 76% of foreign companies in Japan and almost all Japanese banks, making it a major economic player. Considering it as an academic hub, it boasts over 140 universities and 160 public and private research centres, especially in the medical field, with achievements like the use of 3D printers and robot engineering. It is no wonder that most pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers are based in the area.

A City with a Vision

But this restless city has a vision for further industrial and academic growth daring innovative projects. One example of this, pharmaceutical companies and research institutions have joined forces in the Nihombashi and Tokyo Station area in an effort to turn Tokyo into an international hub for life sciences and drug discovery. And it becomes more interesting when universities join this flow of progress giving birth to ventures which capitalize on their R&D capabilities, like developing biofuel using euglena, a type of algae. This vision could not leave out the latest trend in Japan, Monozukuri, namely sophisticated manufacturing by small to mid-sized businesses. In fact, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has launched the “Medicine Manufacturing Cooperation HUB Agency” to promote the development of medical devices, coupling technology with healthcare.

The business events industry is in the centre of this fever of development, since the capital of Japan offers quality convention venues working hand in hand with businesses and universities and supported by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. 5,000 seats, 34 meeting rooms and an exhibition hall are the numbers describing the enormous boat-shaped glass Tokyo International Forum, the city’s largest convention facility, followed by the International Convention Centre Pamir with a capacity of more than 3,600 people and the Prince Park Tower Tokyo offering a plenary space of also 3600 people. What is more, unique venues like theatres and museums as well as hotels have developed suitable convention facilities for any size of meeting.

Association Wins

The two airports, Haneda and Narita, are located in easy travelling distance from the city, while fast trains connect most of the surrounding areas. Furthermore, 96,000 hotel rooms in central Tokyo are available for all budgets.

Conventions like the International Bar Association Annual Meeting in 2014 with 6300 participants, the 25th Conference of the Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver in 2015 with 4200 participants or the IFHIMA Congress two years ago with 3500 participants are proof to Tokyo’s efficiency. Future congresses for the city include IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition this year and the International Congress of Nutrition in 2021.

This article was written by Vicky Koffa, Boardroom digital editor. For more information on Tokyo as a convention destination, visit

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