Koike to go ahead with Tsukiji’s move to Toyosu if pollution steps actually taken: sources

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike has decided to relocate the famous Tsukiji fish market to the Toyosu waterfront district after additional safety measures are taken to ease pollution concerns, sources familiar with the matter said Saturday.

Koike is expected to announce the decision early this week, the sources said.

Koike met with people working at the Tsukiji wholesale fish and vegetable market Saturday to get their opinions on the stalled relocation project.

Koike apologized for the delay in addressing the pollution revelations at Toyosu that surfaced just after she took office.

The meeting came after she received a report Tuesday from a metropolitan government-appointed task force that made proposals centering on making use of both sites.

“We need the wisdom of all of you to decide how to save, sustain and further develop the Tsukiji market, which is Tokyo’s treasure,” she said at the start of the gathering.

The metro government had planned to sell off the Tsukiji site to repay the debt issued to finance construction of the new site at Toyosu. The task force’s proposals included converting the aging Tsukiji market, famous for its daily fish auctions, into a different sort of commercial facility.

Koike, who said upon receiving the proposals that she wants to make the most of Tsukiji’s name recognition, will likely make a decision before campaigning starts Friday for the July 2 metropolitan assembly election. Tsukiji’s relocation is expected to be one of the major issues.

After becoming Tokyo’s first female governor last August, Koike put the relocation plan for the wholesale food market on hold after being told that the pollution control measures promised to the public over a decade ago had been skipped and that the former gas plant site was rife with carcinogens.

Illegal amounts of toxic chemicals crop up regularly in environmental tests, including benzene concentrations up to 100 times the safety limit in March and April.

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