Akamatsu to block Tsukiji move unless safety concerns addressed

Kyodo News

Farm minister Hirotaka Akamatsu said Thursday he will not approve the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s plan to relocate the Tsukiji fish market unless safety concerns are cleared up.

“I will not sign the plan unless the safety of the proposed relocation site has been confirmed and I myself am convinced,” Akamatsu, the agriculture, forestry and fisheries minister, said.

“Since the administration has changed, I intend to study the issue flexibly without ruling out (other options),” he said.

Akamatsu made the comments during an early morning visit to the market, which is also a popular tourist attraction. He watched the auction of tuna and other fish before Tokyo Vice Gov. Hiroshi Sato briefed him on the situation.

The metropolitan government wants to relocate the market from Chuo Ward to Koto Ward by 2014, but the proposed site is contaminated with carcinogens and other toxins far in excess of acceptable levels.

The farm minister has the authority to reject the relocation.

The Democratic Party of Japan was against the relocation plan even before it took the helm of the central government this month and gained a majority in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly in an election in July.