Tokyo Ranked as World’s “Second Riskiest” City



Tokyo is the world’s second riskiest city to live in, according to a new study conducted by Lloyd’s of London insurance market and Cambridge University’s Center for Risk Studies.

The study, which can be found here, says that Tokyo’s potential exposure to several natural disasters and the vulnerability of its numerous high-value structures make it prone to major economic losses. Specifically, it said wind storms may cost the Japanese capital $29.06 billion in the next decade, while earthquakes and flooding may bring about $18.83 billion and $17.65 billion in losses, respectively. All told, that damage could amount to $153.28 billion during the 2015–25 period. (According to Lloyd’s, this “calculation combines the likelihood of events occurring during the period 2015 to 2025 with the loss of GDP that would result.”)

Those dismal figures are only surpassed by Taipei, which has the potential to lose as much as $181.2 billion in GDP between now and 2025. Seoul was ranked third with $103.5 billion, while Manila and New York rounded out the top five, at at $101.09 billion and $90.36 billion, respectively. The only other Japanese city to crack the top ten was Osaka, which came in eighth place at $79.32 billion.

A Japan Times article quoted Lloyd’s CEO Inga Beale as saying: “My hope is that this unique index can stimulate discussion — and, where appropriate, prompt innovation.”

While the potential costliness of fixing Tokyo’s pricey infrastructure factored into the city’s high-risk rating, the study also noted that the city’s exposure to such loss is “comparatively low” to other locales, amounting to only 10.44 percent of its massive $1.47 trillion annual GDP, making Tokyo “one of the richest” and, in turn most resilient, in the study.

And that’s not the only silver lining among these mostly grim findings. Even though Tokyo has now been named the second riskiest in the world by Lloyd’s, that ranking is at least better than one conducted by reinsurer Swiss Re in 2013, which declared Tokyo to be the number one “riskiest place in the world to do business, in terms of the potential human and economic costs of a possible natural catastrophe,” according to Reuters.

Now, if that doesn’t do enough to bolster Tokyoites’ pride, there is the Economist’s “Safe Cities Index” for this year, which has old Edo as the safest city – if for different reasons.

—Kyle Mullin

Image: Flickr/alaw168, used under CC



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