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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 June 21 - 27  > Gov. Koike despite admitting to presence of toxic residues hints at ‘declaring safety’ of new fish market site
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2017 June 21 - 27 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Gov. Koike despite admitting to presence of toxic residues hints at ‘declaring safety’ of new fish market site

June 23, 2017

Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko has hinted at issuing a “declaration of safety” for the new wholesale market at a former gas plant site in Toyosu, despite admitting to the presence of residual toxic substances there.

Governor Koike on June 22 met with representatives of wholesalers at the current market location in Tsukiji and explained to them that the Tokyo Metropolitan government will relocate the market to Toyosu. She, however, admitted to the fact that Tokyo has not yet removed hazardous chemical substances from the site.

She told them that the metropolitan administration will take “additional countermeasures” against soil pollution in Toyosu as proposed by a metropolitan government-controlled expert panel to make sure of the “aboveground” safety of the former gas plant site. She also said that the metro government will build a new facility at the current market site to maintain some operations there, with completion slated in five years.

After the meeting, she said to the press that she will issue a “declaration of safety” for the Toyosu market before the Tsukiji market relocation.

However, many soil contamination specialists criticized these additional countermeasures for allowing the existence of toxics at the new site from the very beginning. They said that even the aboveground safety will not be guaranteed.

Hata Akio, a former chairman of the Japan Association on the Environmental Studies (JAES), stated that some of those measures are “cheap and nasty” and totally ineffective just like defective items.

Hata pointed out that pouring concrete on the Toyosu basement floor in order to curb mercury concentrations and installing more pumps in order to control groundwater levels are inadequate. He said, “Even with the additional countermeasures, the safety of food will not be assured.”

Meanwhile, Muraki Tomoyoshi, a seafood intermediary wholesaler at the Tsukiji market, said that he still opposes the market relocation to such a pollution-tainted site. He said, “What if problems threatening the safety of food occur after the relocation? Tokyo residents would become more and more distrustful of the market.”

He added, “There is no guarantee that we can return to Tsukiji in five years as Governor Koike claims. We don’t even know if she will still be the governor of Tokyo then.”

He stated, “We cannot count on the Toyosu market for everyday household meals. The move to Toyosu not only goes against the food safety principle but also infringes on the people’s right to eat delicious meals. As an intermediate wholesaler, I will continue calling on Governor Koike to give up the Toyosu plan.”

Past related articles:
> Don’t destroy Tsukiji brand value with Toyosu relocation [June 12, 2017]
> Ex-Tokyo Gas worker: Toyosu plant had 120 tainted-rain every day for 20 years [June 5, 2017]
> Benzene 100 times higher than legal baseline detected again in groundwater in Toyosu [May 19, 2017]
> 70% of seafood traders in Tsukiji call for cancellation of relocation to polluted Toyosu district [March 15, 2017]
> Vegetable brokers in Tsukiji oppose market relocation to polluted Toyosu site [March 3, 2017]
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