• Kyodo

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A former Tokyo deputy governor has denied allegations that he falsely testified about his role in purchasing contaminated land to host a new Tokyo fish market.

Takeo Hamauzu made the comment Wednesday in an interview a day after members of several political parties in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly accused him of committing perjury while testifying before a special committee of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly.

The committee is looking into how the decision was made to buy the plot of waterfront land in the Toyosu district where a gas plant previously stood to revamp the famed but aging Tsukiji fish market.

The former deputy governor, a close aide of former Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, who gave the green light to the relocation plan, was Tokyo’s main negotiator with Tokyo Gas Co., which owned the land. He was summoned last month to testify as a sworn witness before the committee.

The former deputy governor told the committee in March that he was not involved in the negotiations with Tokyo Gas after both sides reached a basic agreement on the relocation plan in July 2001.

On Tuesday, some committee members said records submitted by the metropolitan government and Tokyo Gas indicated Hamauzu had received reports on the matter even after the basic agreement was reached.

“I have no recollection, and there were no records that say I responded to such reports,” Hamauzu said, describing the allegations as “nonsense.”

Akio Maekawa, a former senior metropolitan official who testified before the committee on Tuesday, also claimed that Hamauzu had the power to make decisions on matters related to markets in the capital during his tenure between 2000 and 2005.

However, Hamauzu said he was in charge of markets other than Tsukiji and was no longer responsible for negotiations on its relocation after July 2001.

Hamauzu said he will hold a news conference next Monday to counter the allegations and tell “all that I know regarding the relocation plan.”

The new market in Toyosu was scheduled to open last November. But Gov. Yuriko Koike, who took office in August, decided to put the move on hold after learning of soil, air pollution and construction concerns at the new site.

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