As of 2015, the average residential rent in Tokyo was about $2.53 a square foot at current exchange rates. That’s about half the level for San Francisco. And Tokyo’s rents have held roughly constant for two decades.
Why is Tokyo housing so affordable? It’s not because Japan’s population is shrinking. More people crowd into the capital city every year.
News outlets are catching on to the real explanation: Tokyo rent is cheaper because it builds lots of housing.