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Water at Tokyo's new fish market contaminated: official

33 Comments
By Kazuhiro Nogi

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33 Comments
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Build a new fish market on clean land and use this site for something else.

20 ( +21 / -1 )

It's been a lemon from day one. Tsukiji deserves a better replacement than that. Move it somewhere where quality matters

8 ( +9 / -1 )

What an unsurprise!

9 ( +10 / -1 )

No problem, they will revise the levels for Benzene and call it safe. Works all the time.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Geez....why am I not surprised.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Our surveys show groundwater quality remains largely stable

Yeah, stable at 130 times above the safe limit.

Yasuma said the facility, slated to open in October on the site of a former gas plant, was safe and groundwater contamination was not getting worse.

No, it's not getting worse. It is stable at 130 times above the safe limit.

the Tokyo government is regularly monitoring air and groundwater samples for benzene and arsenic.

Yes, to ensure the levels are 130 times over the safe limit.

Can anybody explain why they bother to have a 'safe limit' when they totally ignore it anyway? You cannot make up this kind of lunacy!

10 ( +13 / -3 )

"What needs to be monitored is the trend of groundwater samples -- whether it is going up or down or staying the same.  Our surveys show groundwater quality remains largely stable," 

Stable S is still S

........

However, the market, which dates from 1935, is old and crumbling and does not conform to modern safety and sanitary standards. Tourists walking its crowded alleys often remark on the stench of raw fish and crumbling walls. 

Well, it doesn't sound like a big improvement. So maybe, the government will move the whole market to a new location, one where you cannot see and smell the problems...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Imagine what the water is like around it, the triathlon is swimming 1-2 kilometers away from this toxic mess!

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I'm still stunned they would move a raw food market, to the location of an old industrial gas plant.

It just boggles the mind.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

With this countries health scandals with HIV, Mercury, Hepatitis, Hansons disease, Asbestos,forced sterilisations, why would anyone really want to believe that this is safe. Breathing in benzene...over..how many years of working there? Not something I wish to bet my life on and a very very long court case and denial by any future Japanese government.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

So, they just want to keep it buried and ignore it via monitoring? A more prudent approach might be to see how far and deep the benzine is spread and then if economically feasible inserting pumping stations with alcohol to dissolve the benzine and extract it from the area for recycling. Sounds far-fetched, but at least they'd get rid of most of it. Of course the surrounding area might turn out to be just as saturated with it and that would open up a very large can of worms if it's used for living space.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Build an ice wall like TEPCO?

8 ( +10 / -2 )

"The new market at Toyosu, around three kilometers to the east, offers modern sanitation"... say what? If the level of benzene is 130x the allowable limit, isn't the entire aquifer in that area at risk? Maybe they can freeze the ground there as they did in Fukushima at the cost of another few billion yen from the taxpayers.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Ha ha an ice wall experts said it wouldn't work but being Japan it's probably now the standard response. Let's move a world famous fish market on to a polluted toxic site. And the previous governor can't remember the details let alone a general idea of what happened, tell you what let's have the Olymipcs.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

And when people reject the fish the government will cry about how we should all equally accept toxins and then it's fair, and it's not fair to shun the market because of poisons.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Corruption ? No, never...

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I'm shocked, shocked to learn that this location, which has been plagued by scientific reports of dangerous levels of contamination for years, is now apparently contaminated.

Mr Ishihara - we, the people of Tokyo, for whom you worked, and who are paying your substantially more generous pension than we can ever dream of, would like to see some paperwork, please.

Tourists walking its crowded alleys often remark on the stench of raw fish 

Bollocks. Tourists fly from all around the world to visit the world-famous fish market, only to complain that there is a smell of fish there?

a) Anyone who complains that a fish market smells of fish is an idiot;

b) What do you expect the new fish market to smell of? Steak pies and Cappucino?

This whole charade has been a brown-envelope boondoggle from day one.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

If you are not extracting any of the ground water and the site is suitably sealed and the air continuously monitored for escaping chemical vapours (which if properly sealed shouldn't happen), there is no health risk.

Comments about the aquifer however are entirely justified.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Here's what will happen: The Governor will once again draw fire for capitulating, suggesting she is unfit do the decision. She will say she was led to believe that the situation was under control and the levels safe, and any responsibility falls on Ishihara for making the decision to buy the land without properly investigating. Ishihara will blink ten-thousand times in one minute while he says a woman has no place being Governor, scream that she might be a foreigner as well as the people who brought the question to him, and then say he had no idea and it was a receptionist who is responsible. They will all shrug in unison, say "too late now", then "shouganai" and say what the findings have said above: "Despite being 130 levels above acceptable limits for human beings, it isn't getting worse, and therefore is okay. The air above, so long as you don't light a match, is perfectly fine, so the... ummm... water that must be used for many purposes, and the land being used... ummm.. though not be an issue."

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Nice writing Smithy.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Shhhh....don't tell anyone. The Japanese won't care, and just think about all those tourist dollars. Hush now.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

So where will we be able to buy fish from, the new market is likely WORSE than fishing off the coast at the nuke plant in Fukushima!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Build a new fish market on clean land and use this site for something else.

Nope. That site is where the Yakuza wanted it, and that's where it stays.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This may or may not be a problem, but as presented in English it is certainly bad PR.

Benzine is one of many Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOC's. You are exposed to VOC's every time you re-fuel your car or paint your house. Short-term exposure is OK, long-term exposure is not. Safe levels are set to protect fuel sales workers and house painters whose exposure is many times that of ordinary people. This result was detected at "an inspection well", which probably means it is not related to any air that people breathe or any water that contacts fish or other food products.

The PR problem comes because TMG has not been completely open about its contamination precautions, testing or monitoring since the project began. When Yasuma says "groundwater quality remains largely stable", as a professional he probably thinks that that is a good thing, but ordinary Tokyo residents see "remains largely stable" at 130 times safe levels as scary. Yasuma and TMG need help on their PR.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It would be no stretch of the imagination to state that this land was yet another scandalous land deal involving cronyism and lies. The land was bought cheap due to its contamination and was supposed to be cleaned up before any building was done. Does this sound familiar to anyone else? Ishihara was suspected to be involved in the shoddy deal, but was cleared of charges because they found another scapegoat lower on the crony tree. It's sounding more and more familiar, isn't it? Who needs a yakuza when you have criminals like this running the country?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The thing is "this is Japan" as I am sure many of us are often reminded. I am sure that many have noticed that Japanese bureaucracy is never wrong. Even when statistics speak for themselves (130 times), they still cannot be wrong.

To build the new market elsewhere or abandoning it altogether would admitting that they are wrong. So it will probably go ahead, contaminated or not.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

benzene causes bone marrow damage, and causes cancer in humans. Long-term exposure to high levels of benzene in the air can cause leukemia, and cancer in organs.

This may not effect the tourists but the day to day fish market employees

Do they have a union? They are going to need one to immediately fight the brown envelopes if they wish their workplace to be a safe and healthy

2 ( +4 / -2 )

A little contamination ain’t never hurt nobody...right:-/

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Why is the Japanese Government so bent on damaging their own people.......Poor minded oldsters that only care about the last 10 years of their selfish life.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

A little contamination ain’t never hurt nobody...right:-/

So true! They have been saying that since 2011. I guess the answer is not to eat fish from the poison city.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

smithinjapan, seems you've been in Japan for a while. Couldn't have said it better myself.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I have been going to Tsukiji shijo both nai and gai for years and I have never smelled stinking fish. All fish and all products are moved out mid-day and the place thoroughly washed down. Even is summer, there is the ocean smell and that is about it, aside from the smokers here and there. Whoever wrote that it stinks is quoting unnamed tourists and has never been there in person.

Now, really, this could be rebuilt in place. Care about tourists money? Don't split the market in half between retail and wholesale. Care about Tokyo as a world culture, don't destroy the functioning and unique system. Most of the people work in an open environment. Toyosu will throw them into a jail-like series of enclosed rooms. Yeah, who is going to trust the "Toyosu brand" or "New 'Tsukiji'" brand?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To the writer "bubblegum" and others who cannot trust the government to check on the poisons: In all the cases of government delinquency you listed it was also the government that struggled to undo the mistakes and make reparation. In Japan, unlike the US or Great Britain, one "CAN sue city hall" or the national government for torts. This makes for a very different access to the bad news kept well concealed in those Anglo-American Law countries (have you ever heard of an accident at a nuclear bomb-making plant? Would those not have been concealed as national secrets?). What about the accident reported on TV in the early 1970s at LOVELAND, NEW YORK's power plant? Why has this news been the victim of amnesia that recalls only Three Mile Island and afterwards? The good reporting still being done to some extent in Japan should not banish our vision of the struggle of that very same government to rectify itself. The possibility of court cases against the government itself makes that self-correction a duty that cannot be shirked.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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