Tokyo market move
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.