TOKYO -- Asian cities such as Taipei and Seoul were found to be less committed to tackling climate change this year than last year, despite growing awareness of environmental issues globally, according to the latest ranking of the world's most appealing cities.
The Global Power City Index compiled by the Institute for Urban Strategies at Japan's Mori Memorial Foundation ranks 48 cities in six categories -- the economy, research and development, cultural interaction, livability, the environment and accessibility.
Many Asian cities fell in the environment category compared with last year. Taipei fell to 25th place from last year's 14th, while Seoul sank to 34th from 27th. Singapore also slipped three places to 16th.
Tokyo was the only Asian city to move up the ranks in terms of the environment, rising six spots to 23rd, thanks in large part to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's commitment to climate action ahead of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games to be held in the city in 2020.
In terms of economy, Beijing overtook Tokyo to claim third place. The category measures economic growth, the number of global companies, multi-lingual talent and business environment. Tokyo saw its score drop while many Asian cities rose.
For the overall index, Tokyo, Singapore, Seoul, Hong Kong and Sydney stayed in the same positions as last year, but recorded lower scores. Tokyo ranked third, Singapore fifth, Seoul seventh, Hong Kong ninth and Sydney 10th.
"Asia has started to see a downturn in growth because many Asian countries depend on exports to China, whose economy has been slowing. On top of that, Asia has seen an impact from the trade tension between the U.S. and China. We see this as likely to drag on, as tension between the two is a race for supremacy, not just trade war," said Heizo Takenaka, chairman of Institute for Urban Strategies at the Mori Memorial Foundation and a former Japanese minister for internal affairs.
Tokyo's score fell to 1,422.2 points from the last year's 1,462 partly due to a lack of variety in workplace options and economic risk of natural disasters. But Tokyo has maintained its status as the top city in Asia for four consecutive years.
Singapore's score fell by 47.7 points, Seoul by 31.9 and Hong Kong by 34.5, all due to issues in the working environment.
Singapore's economy ranking rose to sixth place from last year's ninth and the report pointed to the city's "excellent English ability" and its "skilled human resources."
While Hong Kong showed improvements in the economy ranking this year, the future of the Chinese territory has been muddied by the ongoing pro-democracy protests there.
Despite the rise in the economy category, Beijing fell one spot down to 24th overall.
Taipei fell to 39th from 35th last year, Kuala Lumpur slipped three places to 35th, Jakarta dropped four places to 45th, while Bangkok tumbled to 40th from 36th.