• Kyodo

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Cyanide, a toxic chemical, was found in water in the basement of one of the main buildings at the new wholesale market in Tokyo’s Toyosu waterfront area, though at a level marginally above government-set environmental standards, a survey directed by some Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly members showed Tuesday.

Concerns about soil contamination have put off the plan to relocate the famed but aging Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo’s Chuo Ward to the new site in Koto Ward, as the new site is located on land where Tokyo Gas Co. once operated a gas production plant.

In the test, commissioned by members of the Komeito party, on water found in the basement of three facilities in the new market, 0.1 mg per liter was found in the facility for seafood wholesalers, compared with the maximum permissible level of “less than” 0.1 mg per liter.

Komeito members said their study was not an official one conducted by experts as they collected the water themselves on Sept. 14 and asked a private company to test it. The study was prompted by the discovery of space in the basement of the main buildings that was supposed to be filled with soil.

On Saturday, the metropolitan government said it found a small amount of arsenic and hexavalent chromium, both of them within permissible levels, beneath the three main buildings at the relocation site.

Meanwhile, five successive heads of the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market from 2007 on have told the metropolitan government they were unaware there is space in the basement of the main buildings, a senior metropolitan government official said Tuesday.

The metropolitan government had said on its website that contaminated soil at the site had been removed and replaced with clean soil and that an additional layer of clean soil was added to it. But Gov. Yuriko Koike said earlier this month that not enough clean soil was piled beneath the main buildings and, instead, there are hollow spaces beneath them.

Itaru Okada, who was head of the central wholesale market between 2009 and 2011, said Tuesday that he signed off on pollution control measures for the site without understanding that soil would not be piled beneath the buildings under the measures.

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