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Large-scale traffic controls around venues for the Tokyo Olympic Games are causing traffic jams on nearby streets, impacting people in the surrounding areas such as workers at the Toyosu wholesale food market.

The market in the capital’s Koto Ward is located between Olympic venues in the Ariake area of the ward, such as the Ariake Tennis Park, and the athletes’ village in Chuo Ward. As a section of Ring Road No. 2, which connects the market to the city center, is closed to the public in principle during the Tokyo Games, traffic is building up on the Harumi-dori avenue that runs parallel to the ring road.

“There are many large trucks (on Harumi-dori), making it more congested and dangerous,” said Takao Shimada, a buyer at Toyosu market for restaurant Ginza Kasuga. “It takes twice the time to get to the store in Ginza than usual. … But the decision was made at the top, so there is nothing I can say,” he added.

Yasuhiro Yamazaki, head of intermediate wholesaler Yamaharu, complained that produce is not arriving at stores in time for lunch, even though many restaurants have to close early in the evening due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“It was known that Ring Road No. 2 would be closed,” Yamazaki said. “We asked the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the (Tokyo Games) organizing committee to make sure we weren’t affected, but look where we are now.”

Special lanes for Tokyo 2020-related vehicles were introduced near the Olympic venues in Tokyo on July 19. | KYODO
Special lanes for Tokyo 2020-related vehicles were introduced near the Olympic venues in Tokyo on July 19. | KYODO

The traffic controls have also led to 11 metropolitan bus lines being forced to take detours, and 17 bus stops being halted.

Japan Post Co. said earlier this month that it expects delays of between half a day and a full day for mail deliveries due to the traffic controls.

Parcel delivery company Yamato Holdings Co. also warned of potential delivery delays on its website.

The operator of the Metropolitan Expressway also began imposing a surcharge of ¥1,000 on private vehicles traveling on the expressway between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. from July 19 to alleviate congestion. As a result, more vehicles have been using ordinary roads to avoid the surcharge, creating heavier traffic jams.

The Metropolitan Police Department is calling on people to refrain from using automobiles.

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