The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a branch of the famous weekly magazine, Economist, publishes an annual Global Liveability Index. It was nice to see Osaka moving to #3 in the world! EIU tries to be comprehensive and objective when comparing the quality of life in cities around the globe. The overall rankings are the total of 5 categories which I put forth my point of view. Why does Osaka rank so high?
- Stability (25%) – Personal and violent crime is almost non-existent in Osaka. A lack of gun ownership and limited immigration has also contributed to the lack of terrorism or mass shootings. Another index in this category is the threat of military conflict and despite our proximity to North Korea, it did not hurt Osaka or Tokyo, another Japanese city in the top 10.
- Health Care (20%) – Japanese live an extremely long time, in part due to excellent health care. I trust doctors and nurses here when my family needs care.
- Culture & Environment (25%) – This is the category that is most noticed in our daily lives. I see Osaka ranking high in some areas, such as lack of corruption, censorship and social/religious restrictions. The city is a “foodie’s paradise” with great restaurants and cuisine. Shopping and the availability of products are also outstanding. One can get just about anything in Osaka and note that the city is not in the top 10 of most expensive cities in the world, although it is not cheap to live here and compares with cities in the USA. Sports and cultural opportunities to participate and view abound. Japan is the most distinctive culture of any developed nation. I ride my bicycle everywhere and could not do this anywhere else except perhaps Amsterdam. The humidity and temperature can be uncomfortable at times during the year, but Osaka does have the world’s average yearly temperature and we experience the change of seasons. I wish the insulation in the homes would be better in the three months of winter weather.
- Education (10%) – EIU judges the quality and availability of private education and I hope the Senri & Osaka International Schools helped Osaka score high in this category. It also looks at public school indicators and Japan always ranks high in student achievement.
- Infrastructure (20%) It is so easy and safe to drive in Osaka and the rest of Japan. it is rare to see a pothole and in this mountainous country, the number of tunnels that make one’s drive straight and flat is amazing. Public transport is also comprehensive and used a lot by everyone. There is quality housing, although people live a little bit too close together for my American sensibility. The internet connections are super fast, clean water, energy available, although utilities and gasoline are very expensive here. There are many international flights out of Kansai International Airport and Itami Osaka Airport.
In summary, Osaka is a really nice place to live and the OIS community, teachers, parents and students are fortunate to have a high quality of life that according to the Economist at least, it one of the best liveable cities in the world. I like to think that SOIS played a small part of contributing the ranking!