Tokyo zoomed past Moscow to become the most expensive city for expatriates, while Osaka surged to second place from 11th, according to the 2009 Worldwide Cost of Living survey by U.S. human resources consultancy Mercer LLC.
Conducted every March, the survey covers 143 cities around the world, comparing prices of some 200 items necessary for daily living by foreign expatriates — including housing, food, clothing, transport and entertainment. An index is obtained for each city and measured against the index for New York, which is set at 100.
Tokyo scored 143.7, up 16.7 points from 2008, when it ranked second. The Japanese capital city reached the top spot for the first time in four years. Moscow, which had held the No. 1 ranking for three straight years through last year, tumbled to third place.
The capturing of the top two spots by Tokyo and Osaka is largely attributed to the yen’s appreciation against the dollar, according to Mercer.
Asian and European cities dominated the top 10, with Beijing soaring to ninth from 20th place. The exception was New York, which jumped to eighth from 22nd. The least costly city was Johannesburg.