National

Koike presents vision for Tokyo, stressing importance of ties with Osaka ahead of Olympics and Expo

by Ryusei Takahashi

Staff Writer

Gov. Yuriko Koike spoke to the press Monday about her plans to repurpose the former site of the Tsukiji fish market and strengthen ties with Osaka prior to the 2020 Olympic Games and 2025 World Expo, setting out her ambitions for ongoing development of the capital.

The former site of the Tsukiji fish market, which closed last October after 83 years of operation, is a 23-hectare slot of land adjacent to the Ginza and Shinbashi districts. In the short term, the property will be used as a transportation hub for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, as it has the capacity to serve as a staging area for up to 3,000 buses and cars.

“It is very much a prime location within Tokyo,” Koike said during a news conference conducted in English at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo, adding that she hopes the site will provide a “new image for this vision of Tokyo and also become a site for international exchange in the future.”

What will happen to it after the games, Koike said, will be decided by the end of the financial year, after the Tokyo Metropolitan Government takes into account consultations with various experts as well as public comments — the latter of which will stop being accepted after the end of this week.

The new Toyosu market welcomed approximately 40,000 visitors on its first public viewing day in October.

“Since opening, operations at the new market are proceeding smoothly and we are working together with the local community and Toyosu traders to establish the new Toyosu brand, keep the market lively and grow it into a driver for Tokyo and Japan growth,” Koike said.

Moving forward, Koike said Tokyo is “poised for dramatic change” as it prepares to host the Rugby World Cup in September and the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.

Koike also noted that in 2025, Osaka will host the World Expo. The previous World Expo held in the city, in 1970, drew 64 million visitors and is still regarded as one of the most successful expos ever held.

As both cities prepare to host their respective “global mega-events,” Koike said she hopes to strengthen ties between Tokyo and Osaka for the greater prosperity of Japan.

“These two major events will serve as a springboard to transform our city, and this year, 2019, will be key in making those games a success in ushering a new Tokyo,” she said. “It is vital, in achieving sustainable growth, for the capital city of Tokyo and other regions in Japan to develop together as partners.”