Tokyo drops to 9th most expensive city for expats amid weak yen

This file photo taken from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter shows Tokyo Skytree, left, with Mount Fuji in the background. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Tokyo has fallen from the third most expensive city a year earlier to the ninth most expensive city for people working overseas in 2022, in part due to the weakening of the yen against the U.S. dollar. and other major currencies, according to an annual cost survey conducted by a US consulting firm.

The Mercer cost of living survey comes as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, now in its third year, the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, fluctuating exchange rates and the soaring prices are weighing on wages and savings around the world.

Hong Kong tops the list of the most expensive cities in the world, a return to pole position after ceding it to Turkmenistan’s capital, Ashgabat, in 2021.

Hong Kong has already been named the most expensive city for three consecutive years until 2020.

Asian cities occupied four of the top 10 spots, with Singapore, Tokyo and Beijing occupying places 8 to 10.

In a separate ranking of the Asian top 10, Chinese cities take six spots, a development Mercer attributes to the strength of the Chinese yuan making life on the mainland more expensive.

Conversely, a relative increase in affordability in Japanese and Korean cities has been attributed to the effects of their weaker currencies.

Tracey Ma, Mercer’s regional mobility manager for Asia-Pacific, said high prices and hard currencies elsewhere in the region “continue to propel Asia as one of the most expensive regions for employees. international”.

Last week, the Japanese yen fell to 139 against the dollar, the lowest in 24 years.

A Bank of Japan survey released July 6 also showed nearly 90% of Japanese consumers believed prices had risen in the past year, the highest proportion to say so in 14 years.

As for the rest of the international top 10, the Swiss cities of Zurich, Geneva, Basel and Bern occupied places two through five respectively and were the only European representation in the top flight. Tel Aviv and New York rank sixth and seventh respectively.

New York City returned to the top 10 after falling from sixth to 14th place in the 2021 survey, while Shanghai, which placed sixth in 2021, was dropped from the top flight and placed 12th.

The annual survey ranked 227 cities by rating the comparative cost of 200 items, including housing, transportation, food and entertainment.

New York City is used as the basis of comparison and currency movements are measured against the dollar.

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