• Kyodo

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Former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara is set to be summoned to appear on March 20 as a sworn witness before a powerful metropolitan assembly committee looking into the botched Tsukiji fish market relocation, the committee’s board has said.

The board, which can compel individuals to testify and submit relevant records, agreed on Monday to hold the hearing from 1 p.m. on March 20.

Witnesses who give false testimony face prosecution for perjury.

Ishihara was governor when the metropolitan government decided to buy land in the Toyosu area to relocate the popular but aging wholesale market.

Gov. Yuriko Koike has put the move 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.

The hearing will look into the decision-making process.

The committee will formally ratify the hearing date and time on Wednesday.

The board also decided to summon Takeo Hamauzu, a former deputy governor and close aide of Ishihara, on March 19. Hamauzu was in charge of the purchase of the land from Tokyo Gas Co.

The powerful committee empowered to investigate the matter under the local autonomy law plans to call other former senior metropolitan government officials and former Tokyo Gas officials involved in the land acquisition process.

Meanwhile, Ishihara will hold a news conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo on Friday, the press club said Monday.

The former governor has said he wants to explain his involvement in the relocation plan.

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