|image_caption=Clockwise from top: Rainbow Bridge, Shinjuku, the Tokyo Tower, Shibuya, and the National Diet Building
|image_map=Tokyo 23 Special Wards Area Map.svg
|map_caption=Located in the green highlights
||population_as_of=May 1, 2015
|total_type= 23 special wards
|image_map1=Tokyo special wards map.svg
The are 23 municipalities that together make up the core and the most populous part of Tokyo, Japan. Together, they occupy the land that was originally the Tokyo City before it was abolished in 1943 to become part of the newly created Tokyo Metropolis. The special wards' structure was established under the Japanese Local Autonomy Law and is unique to Tokyo.
In Japanese, they are commonly known as the . Confusingly, all wards refer to themselves as a ''city'' in English, but the Japanese designation of remains unchanged. Moreover, in everyday English, Tokyo as a whole is also referred to as a city. Thus, the closest English equivalents for the special wards would be the London boroughs, and this can help to understand their structures and functions.
This is merely a grouping of special wards; there is no associated single government body of wards separate from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
==Differences from municipalities==
Although special wards are autonomous from the Tokyo metropolitan government, they also function as a single urban entity in respect to certain public services, including water supply, sewage disposal, and fire services. These services are handled by the Tokyo metropolitan government, whereas cities would normally provide these services themselves. To finance the joint public services it provides to the 23 wards, the metropolitan government levies some of the taxes that would normally be levied by city governments, and also makes transfer payments to wards that cannot finance their own local administration.〔(【引用サイトリンク】url=http://www.metro.tokyo.jp/ENGLISH/ABOUT/STRUCTURE/structure02.htm )〕
Waste disposal is handled by each ward under direction of the metropolitan government. For example, plastics were generally handled as non-burnable waste until the metropolitan government announced a plan to halt burying of plastic waste by 2010; as a result, about half of the special wards now treat plastics as burnable waste, while the other half mandate recycling of either all or some plastics.
Unlike other municipalities (including the municipalities of western Tokyo), special wards were initially not considered to be local public entities for purposes of the Constitution of Japan. This means that they had no constitutional right to pass their own legislation, or to hold direct elections for mayors and councilors. While these authorities were granted by statute during the US-led occupation and again from 1975, they could be unilaterally revoked by the Diet of Japan; similar measures against other municipalities would require a constitutional amendment. The denial of elected mayors to the special wards was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in the 1963 decision ''Japan v. Kobayashi et al.'' (also known as Tokyo Ward Autonomy Case).
In 1998 the national Diet passed a revision of the local autonomy law (effective in the year 2000) that implemented the conclusions of the ''Final Report on the Tokyo Ward System Reform'' increasing their fiscal autonomy and established the wards as basic local public entities.
抄文引用元・出典: フリー百科事典『 ウィキペディア（Wikipedia）』
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