National

Toyosu wholesalers want to sell fish to general public

JIJI

With the busy year-end trading period underway at the new Toyosu wholesale food market in Tokyo, intermediary wholesalers are calling for the general public to be allowed entry to directly buy fish.

Unlike in the former Tsukiji market, only fish retailers and other professionals have access to intermediary wholesalers at Toyosu.

Although the Tsukiji market was originally intended to conduct only wholesale trading, the market’s open structure made it easy for consumers to sneak past security guards to get into the market, according to people who worked at facility before it closed.

By contrast, the wholesale sections of the sophisticated, multistory market buildings at Toyosu are closed to general consumers, with the entrances, stairways and escalators being staffed by security guards.

Tourists are only allowed to walk through glass-walled corridors and other limited areas.

Still, at Tsukiji, around the year’s end, many intermediary wholesalers used to sell small packages of tuna sashimi and crab to the general public. For many of the intermediary wholesalers, some of whom struggled financially, the direct sales were an important source of income.

“We want them (consumers) to be allowed to buy at Toyosu as well,” one market worker said.

But an official with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the operator of the market, said the city was skeptical of the idea.

“The Toyosu market is a place for trading by professionals in the first place, although it is also a tourist spot,” the official said. “We can’t do things just like in Tsukiji.”

Already at Toyosu, a visitor has been hit and injured by a electric turret cart. In addition, buyers for fish stores said they opposed allowing consumers in, saying they make it difficult to do their jobs.