Tokyo mar­ket move

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Prime Space -

Noze, chair­man of a whole­salers’ group op­pos­ing the re­lo­ca­tion plan.

‘‘ They may not be able to af­ford the higher fees to pay for the ex­pen­sive fa­cil­i­ties of the new mar­ket.’’

The new site is owned by Tokyo Gas, which re­vealed in 2001 that the area was pol­luted with deadly cyanogen and arsenic.

‘‘ How can we move to land heav­ily pol­luted by cyanogen and arsenic? We, peo­ple who deal with fish, one of the sta­ples for the Ja­panese,’’ Noze says.

The Tokyo Gov­ern­ment promised to re­place pol­luted soil with fresh earth to a depth of 4.5m and says the prob­lem has been solved. But faced with fierce op­po­si­tion, in March, Ishi­hara — in the midst of his cam­paign for a third four- year term — pledged to rein­ves­ti­gate pos­si­ble land pol­lu­tion.

While he stands by the 2012 move date, the sched­ule has been de­layed.

The Gov­ern­ment was sup­posed to pick a con­trac­tor in March for the re­lo­ca­tion but de­layed it due to the new probe of po­ten­tial pol­lu­tion.

Op­po­nents also com­plain about poorer ac­cess to the new site by sub­way and train and point out that the pe­riph­ery area of mid­dle­men deal­ers, or ‘‘ off- Tsuk­iji’’, would be pulled apart from the main mar­ket un­der the re­lo­ca­tion.

‘‘ I won­der what would hap­pen to small buy­ers who come here by bi­cy­cle and drop in at sev­eral mid­dle­men traders,’’ says Masayuki Uchiyama, 54, an in­ter­me­di­ate whole­saler who buys and sells frozen fish.

About two- thirds of the mid­dle­men have no plans to move out with the main mar­ket, ac­cord­ing to Akio Suzuki, pres­i­dent of the off- Tsuk­iji mer­chant as­so­ci­a­tion. Own­ers of fish shops and restau­rants who are the mar­ket’s ma­jor cus­tomers also say they could feel the pinch.

But the move has sup­port­ers, who say the fish mar­ket needs more mod­ern fa­cil­i­ties and must change with the times.

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