"Can this man save Tokyo?" (Asian Business, Dec. 27) demonstrates the dangers of doing business in Japan: People sojourning here often temper what they see and hear to match preexisting perceptions. The so-called Tokyo City Hall is not a city hall but rather the seat of the Tokyo prefectural government, whose chief executive is a governor. Cities have mayors. Of course, the prefectural government does not help clarify the situation by calling itself, in English, "Tokyo Metropolitan Government."
There hasn't been a City of Tokyo since 1943. Today, the larger region that many foreign execs think of as a city consists of 23 special wards that are essentially special cities. This April, those wards will take on the most important missing function that distinguishes them from regular cities when each individually takes over from the prefecture the task of collecting its own garbage.
Charles L. Cohen