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Japan is the safest city in the world for visitors and expats | © Napatsan Puakpong /
Japan is the safest city in the world for visitors and expats | © Napatsan Puakpong /
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5 Reasons Why Tokyo Is the World's Safest City for Expats

Picture of Alicia Joy
Tokyo Writer
Updated: 13 December 2017
The Economist has once again ranked Tokyo as the number one safest city in the world, but that probably doesn’t surprise you. Visitors and expats to Japan rarely report feeling unsafe, thanks to low rates of violent crime, and high standards when it comes to health, infrastructure, and food hygiene.

Tokyo’s digital security is the best

As cities continue to invest in smart technology, digital threats from hackers will become an even bigger threat. How can cities protect themselves from cyber attacks? According to The Economist, the less centralized these systems are, the less vulnerable they will be to threats. The Japanese government has been ramping up digital security in anticipation of the upcoming 2020 Olympics. As a result, Tokyo ranked number one in digital security with 88.40 points on the Safe Cities Index. This means denizens can rest easy knowing the city’s smart systems, which control everything from transit schedules to the power grid, are actually the most well protected in the world.

Tokyo’s digital security is the best in the world | © Alexander Geiger /

Low rates for violent crime and theft

Japan has been praised for its low crime rates for decades. Most point to cultural factors as the reason behind it, such as a tendency to put the good of the group before the individual, and a desire to maintain harmony. Whatever it is, people in Tokyo have realized it’s in everyone’s best interest to follow the rules, and this means low rates of theft and violent crime across the board.

Tokyo has some of the lowest rates of assault | © MMpai /

Concern for women’s safety

In addition to low crime rates overall, Tokyo is particularly concerned with keeping its female denizens safe. Women are given exclusive use of certain trains during rush hour, an attempt to keep potential gropers at bay. Most business hotels are happy to offer women-only floors for their safety and comfort, while other establishments cater exclusively to women. You’ll also find that strict weapons laws and a manned koban (police box) around every corner contribute to the feeling of being safe.

Women, children, and the elderly have exclusive use of certain trains during rush hour | © Benoist /

Excellent healthcare

Tokyo’s healthcare also ranks highly on the Safe Cities Index, coming in second after another Japanese city, Osaka. Tokyoites have fair and equal access to quality emergency care, hospitals, and other essential health facilities, which operate under a government-controlled universal healthcare insurance system. But the city is big on the prevention of illnesses, too, as visitors will quickly discover, investing in numerous public parks and green spaces and keeping food, water, and air quality high.

Tokyo’s healthcare is the second-best in the world | © leungchopan /

High food safety standards

Thanks to extremely high standards when it comes to food health and safety, you’ll never have to worry about getting food poisoning in Tokyo (unless of course you’re attempting the deadly fugu). But the city’s delicious eats have more than sanitation boards to thank. To the Japanese, freshness and quality of the ingredients is of the utmost importance. It’s a completely different approach to food than, say, America, where bigger is better, and quantity trumps quality.

No need to worry thanks to high food safety standards | © tororo reaction /