To reassure citizens of the safety of the Toyosu wholesale food market, Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike inspected the controversial site with local residents on Saturday. Dressed casually, Koike commenced the inspection by stating, “Today’s beautiful weather is perfect for touring the grounds of this wonderful Toyosu market.”
Koike announced last month that the aging Tsukiji fish market would be moved to the Toyosu location no earlier than June 2018, after taking additional safety measures to address soil contamination at the new site.
Concerns surrounding the relocation of the fish market to Toyosu have repeatedly been raised by fishery businesses and residents, and they demanded Koike officially declare the area as safe.
On Saturday, Koike was accompanied by 130 local residents of Koto Ward. The group inspected the sprawling site that directly faces Tokyo Bay.
Koike explained, “I believe that by inspecting Toyosu firsthand, everyone will understand the safety of this replacement site. In the future, I plan to continue clarifying information concerning the progress of additional projects.”
The specific schedule for the relocation of the market will be decided in talks with industry groups, according to Tokyo government officials. A supplementary budget plan includes 3 billion yen for measures to address soil contamination at the new site.
The Tsukiji market, where daily fish auctions attract many tourists, was originally scheduled to be moved to the newly built wholesale market in Toyosu last November. But Koike, who became governor in August last year, put the brakes on the project.
Concerns heightened as key buildings at the new site, previously used as a gas production plant, were found to have been built on hollow concrete chambers instead of a thick layer of clean soil, which was supposed to have been done to counter contamination.
Toxic chemicals, including benzene up to 100 times the government-set limit, were also detected in groundwater at the new site.© Japan Today/Kyodo