Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said Friday she would disclose the results of the Toyosu market soil pollution probe next week.
At her regular news conference at Tokyo Metropolitan Government headquarters in Shinjuku Ward, Koike said she hopes to reveal all of the facts behind why the metro government secretly changed the original design plan to ensure the clean layer of soil it promised would insulate the main buildings from pollution would never be inserted.
The soil layer was crucial to getting merchants at the famous Tsukiji fish market to approve the plan to relocate to Toyosu, where a toxic gas plant once stood.
Earlier this month, the governor ordered staff to re-examine the new site after she revealed that the crucial soil remediation work had been skipped.
“My goal is not to look for the culprit … but what’s really being put to the test is Tokyo’s previous administrations,” Koike said.
She said the construction problem — namely that the key officials in charge of the markets were unaware of the realities of the situation — stems from City Hall’s bureaucracy, which she called “irresponsible.”
She said she would consider questioning her predecessors in person to find the truth, including Shintaro Ishihara, who was governor in 2008 and selected Toyosu as the new location for the world famous fish market.
She also said that a safety panel was scheduled to meet next Thursday to discuss existing problems at Toyosu and review previous decisions regarding the project.
The undisclosed changes to the Toyosu plan that were revealed by Koike are believed to have caused flooding in areas under the market’s main buildings, raising concerns that groundwater tainted by toxic substances left by the gas plant is seeping into the same facilities destined to house and sell fresh fish and other produce.
Last week a group of Tokyo assembly members reported that water covering the floor of a building designed for seafood wholesalers contained 0.1 mg per liter of cyanide. According to the law, the level must be under 0.1 mg per liter.
In response to claims that Toyosu’s groundwater should not be taken into account when assessing the site’s safety because it will not be used for consumption, Koike said the safety assessment would be based on all factors that may pose threats to consumer safety.
Earlier on Friday, a group of Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly members revealed that a large amount of water is covering the basement of the market’s packaging center.
Democratic Party member Yukinari Shimada, who heads the project team set up to investigate the Toyosu problems, said that in some areas the water level was around 30 cm, or too deep to step in with normal rain boots.
The assemblymen also found that some of the electrical wires in the basement, which was not in the original blueprints, were hanging down into the water, and that the area was intended for heavy machinery, which contradicts the plans previously disclosed by the metro government.
On the other hand, a completely dry basement area found under the market’s administrative facility was found covered by a 50-cm layer of preventive concrete.
“I wonder why such measures weren’t implemented under all of the facilities,” Shimada asked.
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