WIT Press

Japanese metropolitan structure defined through correlated demographics and local service sector employment provision


Free (open access)


Volume 12 (2017), Issue 7



Page Range

1132 - 1141

Paper DOI



WIT Press




The relatively recent shift from an industrial to a post-industrial society has produced significant changes in the structure of metropolitan areas at a global level. Following the communication revolution and implicitly a spatial dispersion of economic centres, the metropolis becomes a polycentric mass with increased flexibility and less clear boundaries. While the process of global urbanisation continues, most urban growth happens in the urban periphery, which gains a key role in regional development, often even competing with central cities. Highly developed metropolitan areas beyond the core city are now essential for urban competitiveness. Polycentric development and the post-industrialisation of metropolitan peripheries happens in Japan in the particular context of population ageing and decline which, through decreasing densities, impacts the service provision, infrastructure and the urban fabric as a whole. Through statistical analysis, this paper investigates the correlation between local tertiary service employment provision and population evolution between 1995 and 2015, in the three largest major metropolitan areas in Japan, Tokyo, Keihanshin and Chukyo. Furthermore, a combined quantitative and qualitative approach was used in order to identify, within the three metropolitan areas, regions where service sector employment is high and correlated with population growth. The study is intended to serve as a possible basis for further metropolitan restructuring that can tackle population and implicitly urban shrinkage.


Chukyo, Keihanshin, metropolitan structure, population decline, post-industrial, service sector, Tokyo.