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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 March 8 - 14  > Tokyo Assembly’s special commission launches investigation into Toyosu scandal
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2017 March 8 - 14 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Tokyo Assembly’s special commission launches investigation into Toyosu scandal

March 12 & 13, 2017
The Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly’s special commission was convened on March 11 to investigate the scandal over the planned relocation of the Tsukiji Fish Market to the Toyosu district. Yoshida Nobuo, the head of the Japanese Communist Party Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Members’ Group, revealed a document in which the metropolitan government made an extraordinary concession to Tokyo Gas Co. to share in the cost of dealing with the soil pollution at the planned market site.

In the first round of the hearings, the investigative commission summoned former and current executives of Tokyo Gas as sworn witnesses, along with an ex-chair of the central wholesale market.

In the hearing session, Yoshida presented a “written confirmation” which the metropolitan government and the gas company exchanged in July 2001. He pointed out that based on this agreement, the metropolitan authorities spent 50.8 billion yen in taxpayer money on anti-pollution measures while the utility paid only 7.8 billion yen for that purpose. Yoshida asked the witnesses whether they decided to sell the land in Toyosu to the metropolitan government in exchange for getting the company’s share of the decontamination cost reduced significantly.

In response, a Tokyo Gas official in charge of the purchase and sale of the land admitted that the reduced amount of anti-pollution expenses to be borne by the utility was a “factor” in deciding to dispose of the property.

The JCP legislator noted that the Tokyo government offered considerable benefits to the gas provider in violation of the polluter pays principle which is stipulated in the Soil Contamination Countermeasures Act. Stressing that such a sales contract will not gain Tokyoites’ understanding at all, he expressed his intent to grill metropolitan executives on this issue, including former Tokyo Governor Ishihara Shintaro.

Ishihara is scheduled to appear before the commission on March 20.

Past related article:
> JCP-proposed special investigation commission on Toyosu issue to be convened [February 21, 2017]
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