The Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly decided Wednesday to summon former Gov. Shintaro Ishihara and his close aide to appear as sworn witnesses before a powerful committee looking into the controversial relocation plan for the Tsukiji fish market.
The assembly passed a proposal submitted by four major parties to establish the committee, which can compel individuals to testify and submit relevant records. Witnesses who give false testimony could face prosecution for perjury.
It is the first time the assembly has set up such a committee since 2005.
Ishihara was governor when the metropolitan government decided to buy land in the Toyosu area to relocate the famous, but aging, fish market. A hearing with Ishihara and Takeo Hamauzu, a former deputy governor, is likely to be held in late March.
Gov. Yuriko Koike has put the relocation on hold due to contamination at the new site, which once housed a gas production plant, and has publicly called for Ishihara to clarify his role in the purchase.
Koike emphasized in her policy speech on Wednesday that her administration will investigate the decision-making process for the market’s relocation and clarify the responsible party for the land purchase.
Ishihara and Hamauzu were previously scheduled to appear between March 18 and 20 before a separate special assembly committee.
But the assembly decided to hold a hearing with the more powerful committee empowered to investigate the issue under the local autonomy law.