National

Famed Tsukiji fish market to be moved no earlier than next June, Tokyo governor says

Kyodo

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said the Tsukiji fish market will be moved to the Toyosu waterfront area no earlier than next June after taking additional safety measures to address soil contamination at the new site.

“We are expecting the additional work to be completed by early June next year, including confirmation by a panel of experts. The relocation will take place after that,” Koike said Monday during an extraordinary session of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly.

The exact schedule for relocating the renowned market will be decided in talks with industry groups, Tokyo officials said.

The extraordinary assembly session was convened to discuss a supplementary budget plan that includes ¥3 billion for measures to address soil contamination at the new site.

After months of wrangling over the relocation project, which Koike put on hold a year ago amid lingering environmental concerns at the new site, she said in June that the metropolitan government will move the market to Toyosu as planned while redeveloping the Tsukiji site as a “food theme park” in five years.

The supplementary budget includes ¥2.5 billion to prepare for the relocation and ¥20 million to study the redevelopment of the Tsukiji site.

The market, where daily fish auctions attract many tourists, was originally scheduled to be moved to the newly built wholesale market in Toyosu last November. But Koike, who became governor last August, put the brakes on the project.

Concerns heightened as key buildings at the new site, previously used as a gas production plant, were found to have been built on hollow concrete chambers instead of a thick layer of clean soil, which was supposed to have been done to counter contamination.

Toxic chemicals, including benzene up to 100 times the government-set limit, were also detected in groundwater at the new site.

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