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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 June 21 - 27  > Tokyo governor decides to relocate fresh market to contaminated Toyosu site
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2017 June 21 - 27 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Tokyo governor decides to relocate fresh market to contaminated Toyosu site

June 21, 2017
Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko on June 20 announced that the metropolitan government will relocate the Tsukiji fish market to a former gas plant site in Toyosu. The Japanese Communist Party Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Members’ Group expressed its opposition to her decision and demanded that the market be renovated instead of being moved.

Initially, the Tokyo Metropolitan government planned to transfer the famed Tsukiji market to a site in the Toyosu district, where a Tokyo Gas chemical plant had been located, and open a new market in November 2016. However, two months before the opening, various chemicals far exceeding the environmental limits were detected from soils and groundwater at the site. This revelation prompted Governor Koike to suspend and reconsider the plan.

On the day, Governor Koike at a press conference said that she decided to relocate the fish market to Toyosu. Koike explained about changes to the original plan. She said that by around 2022, the Tokyo government will construct a new facility at the current Tsukiji market site and that the new facility will carry out functions as a market and a food-centric theme park by withdrawing the previous plan which was to sell off the Tsukiji site after relocation.

Regarding the issue of contamination at the new market site, Governor Koike noted that the metropolitan government failed to fulfill its promise to lower the pollution levels to meet minimum environmental standards. She said that the government will implement additional clean-up operations as proposed by the expert panel.

However, the panel’s proposals are criticized as inadequate by some soil pollution experts. Most Tsukiji traders demand that the Tsukiji market be renovated without being transferred to Toyosu.

JCP Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Members’ Group Secretary General Oyama Tomoko later on the same day issued a comment on Koike’s announcement. In the comment, Oyama states that it is important to note that Governor Koike said that she will look for ways to keep using the site as a market without selling off the Tsukiji site.

Oyama pointed out that Koike’s plan has two problems. First, it provides no concrete measures on how to guarantee food safety and reduce chemical contamination to meet environmental standards. Second, the new plan would undermine the “Tsukiji brand”. Oyama said that the Tsukiji market acquired fame thanks to brokers’ expertise, but the relocation to Toyosu could reduce the number of skilled professionals.

The JCP assemblymember stressed that the governor should rethink the transfer plan and discuss with people concerned how to improve the current Tsukiji market facilities.
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