Jan 16, 2019
TOKYO - The Tokyo metropolitan government is considering building a complex including a convention center on the site of the closed Tsukiji fish market, a source close to the matter said Wednesday.
The Tokyo government will outline on Jan. 25 a draft redevelopment plan for the 23-hectare site of the former fish market, which closed last October after 83 years of operation, the source said. The draft plan will be finalized by the end of March.
Tokyo has already decided to temporarily use the location as parking lots for athletes and staff at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The city government is also considering opening a luxury hotel, hoping to attract more business people and foreign tourists by using the site that was a popular tourist attraction. It is planning to go ahead with the redevelopment by leasing the site to private-sector entities.
The market was relocated to a site previously used as a gas production plant in nearby Toyosu in Tokyo's Koto Ward after much political wrangling.
In 1999, Shintaro Ishihara, the Tokyo governor at the time, decided to relocate the Tsukiji market to the Toyosu waterfront district.
The Tsukiji market, established in 1935 on reclaimed land in the heart of the capital, was originally scheduled to relocate to the newly built wholesale market in November 2016 as its buildings had become obsolete.
But Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike put the brakes on the relocation after assuming office in August 2016 because of soil and air pollution concerns at the Toyosu site. She announced in June 2017 a plan to utilize both the new market as well as the old site as a "food theme park," saying Tsukiji was "an established brand."
Following the discovery of pollutants including high levels of benzene in groundwater and subsequent decontamination work, the metropolitan government and businesses agreed on the relocation and the Toyosu market finally opened in October last year.
The Toyosu market -- a new tourist attraction in Tokyo -- is a closed facility suitable for temperature control and sanitation, and is 1.7 times larger than Tsukiji.
While around 900 businesses moved to the new site, with around 2,600 haulage vehicles and forklifts, some shops and dealers ended their businesses at the old site after deciding not to move. A shopping mall that has developed outside of the old market has also remained in Tsukiji.
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