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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 February 15 - 21  > JCP-proposed special investigation commission on Toyosu issue to be convened
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2017 February 15 - 21 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

JCP-proposed special investigation commission on Toyosu issue to be convened

February 21, 2017
The Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly steering committee on February 20 agreed to set up a special investigation commission on the issue over the new Toyosu wholesale market. The Japanese Communist Party repeatedly called for the establishment of an investigative body with the broad authority to conduct an independent investigation.

The metropolitan assembly finally moved toward the setting up of the powerful investigation commission based on Article 100 of the Local Autonomy Act, pushed by the JCP’s tenacious activities as well as movements by both wholesalers and consumers demanding the disclosure of full information regarding Toyosu-related problems including the suspicious purchase of the former Tokyo gas plant site in Toyosu for the construction of a new market.

The Toyosu district, the planned replacement for the present fish market in Tsukiji, was criticized for being polluted with toxic chemicals. The metropolitan government promised to carry out decontamination work. However, in September 2016, the JCP Tokyo Metropolitan Assemblymembers’ Group revealed that the introduction of fresh soil to the new market site, which is part of countermeasures to address the issue of soil pollution, was not properly implemented in the areas where some of the market’s main buildings are located.

After bringing this problem to light, the JCP group repeatedly proposed that the assembly establish an “Article 100 commission”, asserting that the power of the commission is essential to carry out thorough investigations into the issue because witnesses summoned by the commission cannot refuse to appear in commission questioning sessions without legitimate reasons and could be accused of perjury if they give false testimony. In a Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly meeting held in October 2016, the JCP introduced a motion to launch an “Article 100 commission”, but it was rejected with other major political parties including the Liberal Democratic, Komei, and Democratic parties opposing.

On January 14, 2017, the results of a monitoring survey of underground water in the Toyosu site came out, indicating that benzene 79 times higher than the upper limit set in the national government’s environmental guidelines was detected in the water samples.

In response to the survey results, political parties which were opposed to the establishment of a special investigation commission have come to have no choice but to change their stance.

The need now is to uncover all the facts pertaining to the project by ordering former Tokyo Governor Ishihara Shintaro, who forcibly decided the plan to relocate the market from Tsukiji to Toyosu, former Vice Governor Hamauzu Takeo, and Tokyo Gas Chairman Okamoto Tsuyoshi to appear as sworn witnesses before an “Article 100 commission”.

Past related articles:
> Tokyo will hold ex-Gov. Ishihara accountable in court on Toyosu market issue [January 21, 2017]
> JCP Oyama demands further clarification of Toyosu market scandal [November 2, 2016]
> Arsenic found in water covering underground space of new Toyosu market facilities: JCP Tokyo [September 17, 2016]
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