Korea is experiencing dramatic social and economic changes due to increased level of income and quality of life for last 30-40 years. However, the cities are not able to provide an adequate service to the citizen partly because of the lack of city autonomy enough to cope with increased demand of public services. At the point of this situation, mayor association which was organized by mayors of big cities with more than 500,000 population insists on introducing the system of “special autonomous city” which provides local government more autonomy.
This study attempts to draw some important issues on “special autonomous city” system based on the review of the similar system of “designated city” in Japan. Considering the dramatic changes of social environment in Korea, it is timely to review “special autonomous city” system for providing better public services. This study reviews some expected benefits and problems when the system of “special autonomous city” is introduced.