A former official said Monday he has objected to a Tokyo Metropolitan Government report that found him and seven others responsible for a design change at a new central wholesale market in the capital.
Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike announced about a week ago that the eight former and current metropolitan government officials are responsible for the decision at an officials’ meeting in August 2011 to forgo placing a thick layer of clean soil beneath main buildings at the market as an anti-contamination measure.
Makoto Miyanaga, a 63-year-old former official, told Kyodo News and other media Monday that he submitted a letter objecting to the allegation to the metropolitan government on Friday.
Miyanaga said the officials’ meeting “wasn’t a place to make a decision and didn’t have such a function and authority.”
Instead, higher-level meetings, including ones attended by the head of the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market, should have been held to make such a major decision, he said. There was no such meeting, he added.
In December 2001, the metro government decided to move the Tsukiji Market, well-known for its fish auctions, to a site in the Toyosu area, which was home to a Tokyo Gas Co. plant.
Since toxic substances were found in the soil at the site, the key buildings of the new market in Toyosu were supposed to be built on a thick layer of clean soil.
But it came to light in September that empty concrete chambers were built instead, raising concerns over possible contamination and the safety of food at the new market.
Meanwhile, Miyanaga said he felt sorry and responsibility for causing problems for people involved with the market, citizens and the metropolitan assembly.
Although he said he is willing to take responsibility in line with his job, he submitted the letter as he thought the decision was “too heavy.”
He said that blaming ranking officials in such a way is taking no account of the issue of officials’ authority, terming the report “utterly unacceptable.”
The seven other people included Vice Gov. Mitsuru Nakanishi, who was head of the market.
While the Toyosu market was supposed to be open Monday, Koike in August decided to delay its opening amid concerns about soil and air pollution immediately after she became the governor.
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