Japan: Fresh start for an old market
Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji fish market — the world’s biggest — will be moved to a new location, the city’s top official confirmed in June 2017, after months of delays over concerns about toxic contamination at the new site.
City Gov. Yuriko Koike added a new element to the long-standing relocation plan, saying the current site would eventually be redeveloped to capitalize on Tsukiji’s globally recognized brand.
The present location, a popular tourist attraction that hosts an early morning tuna auction, is earmarked for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“After that, we will turn it into a new market with a food theme park,” Koike told reporters, adding that redevelopment would happen within five years.
“I think it’s wisest to use both Toyosu and Tsukiji,” she said, referring to the new location.
The government initially planned to sell all or part of the current site near the upscale Ginza shopping district. Koike, a former TV anchorwoman elected in 2016 as Tokyo’s first female governor, did not say when the main market would move to Toyosu, a former gas plant.
“We’ll need to discuss detailed schedules with the people involved,” she said.
The top-selling Yomiuri newspaper reported that the governor was mulling the possibility of opening the new site in May 2018.
Plans to uproot the more than 80-year-old market have been in the works for years, with advocates citing the need for upgraded technology as they pointed to Tsukiji’s antiquated refrigeration systems.