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Tokyo named world's safest city, Amsterdam tops Europe ranking

A woman films an eclipse at a rooftop of the Roppongi Hills complex in Tokyo May 21, 2012. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

The Economist Intelligence Unit aims to capture the concept of "urban resilience", the ability of cities to absorb and bounce back from shocks

By Elena Berton

LONDON - Tokyo was named the world's safest city on Thursday by the Economist Intelligence Unit, in an index ranking cities' ability to handle everything from climate disasters to cyber attacks.

Singapore took second place after Japan's capital while another Japanese metropolis, Osaka, came third - the same top three as the two previous Safe Cities Indexes of 2015 and 2017.

This year the index of 60 cities aimed to capture the concept of "urban resilience", which is the ability of cities to absorb and bounce back from shocks, researchers said.

This concept has increasingly steered urban safety planning during the last decade, as policymakers worry about the impacts of climate change, including heat stress and flooding.

The index assessed four types of safety: digital, infrastructure, health and personal security.

Asia-Pacific dominated the top 10, as in previous years, with six cities, including Australia's Sydney in fifth place, South Korea's Seoul in eighth and Australia's Melbourne in 10th.

Two European and two North American cities made it into the top 10, with the Dutch capital Amsterdam in fourth place while Denmark's Copenhagen came eighth. Canada's Toronto came sixth, and the U.S. capital, Washington D.C., seventh.

The safest cities scored highly on access to high-quality healthcare, dedicated cyber-security teams, community-based police patrols and good disaster planning, researchers said.

"The research highlights how different types of safety are thoroughly intertwined," said Naka Kondo, the report's Tokyo-based editor.

While European cities performed well in the area of health, they struggled with digital security, in terms of citizens' ability to freely use the internet and other digital channels without fear of privacy violations or identity theft.

Top-ranking cities for digital security scored high on citizen awareness of digital threats and dedicated cyber-security teams, leading to low levels of infection by computer viruses and malware.

"London is the only European city in the top 10 in this category," said Irene Mia, global editorial director of the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Nigeria's Lagos, Venezuela's Caracas, Myanmar's Yangon, Pakistan's Karachi and Bangladesh's Dhaka were the world's five least safe cities, according to the index.

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