National

Foundation of Tsukiji replacement site filled with pipes, not clean soil: Koike

by Reiji Yoshida

Staff Writer

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike revealed Saturday that the foundations of three main structures of the Toyosu market in Koto Ward that was built to replace the famed Tsukiji fish market were not filled with clean soil as the public was previously told.

At a hastily called news conference, the governor said she will ask experts to re-examine whether the Toyosu site is safe for both consumers and employees.

The finding could further delay the relocation of the Tsukiji fish market in Chuo Ward, which was originally planned to take place on Nov. 7. Koike postponed the move to at least January shortly after becoming Tokyo governor on July 31.

The soil at the Toyosu site was heavily contaminated with toxic chemicals left behind by a Tokyo Gas Co. plant that previously stood on the site.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government reportedly removed the top 2 meters of the Toyosu site’s soil and decontaminated it before returning it to the construction site. It then purportedly placed 2.5 meters of clean soil on top of it in a measure the metro government said would ensure the safety of the new fish market.

However, the governor said she recently learned that five structures, including the three main structures on the site built to house Tsukiji’s fish, fruit and vegetable wholesalers, do not have 4.5 meters of soil under them.

The space is empty and filled with nothing but utility pipes and cables for the facilities, Koike said. The five structures in total occupy about 13.4 hectares of the 40-hectare Toyosu compound.

Kyodo News, meanwhile, quoted a senior metro government official on Saturday as saying there will be no safety problems at Toyosu because the underground space was covered by concrete.

Many wholesale businesses were opposed to the relocation plan, arguing that some of the toxic chemicals left there could eventually seep up to ground level over the long term, endangering the safety of the workers and their produce.

Air and groundwater surveys at the Toyosu site have said that the density levels of the toxic chemicals in question are now lower than the official safety limits. The results of the last ground water survey will be released in January.