- Title: Tokyo Olympics plan hits roadblock over fish market's relocation
- Date: 30th September 2016
- Summary: TOKYO 2020 OLYMPICS AND PARALYMPICS LOGOS COMMITTEE MEMBERS SEATED (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC ORGANIZING COMMITTEE VICE DIRECTOR GENERAL, HIROSHI SATO, SAYING: "I hope the decisions (for the market transfer) will be made promptly so that it will not affect the Tokyo 2020 Games (preparations)."
- Embargoed: 15th October 2016 04:56
- Keywords: 2020 Olympics Tsukiji fish market Toyosu relocation road
- Location: TOKYO, JAPAN
- City: TOKYO, JAPAN
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Olympics,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA00851RAQMD
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Tokyo won the 2020 Olympics on its reputation for efficiency, but a string of blunders has now been compounded by the city's new governor halting relocation of the world's largest fish market, jeopardizing a road needed for the Summer Games.
The plan to transfer the historic Tsukiji market hit a major roadblock when Tokyo metropolitan assembly members found pollutants in water in the basement of one of the main buildings at the new wholesale market in Tokyo's Toyosu waterfront area early September.
On Thursday (September 28), it was announced that those pollutants were at levels 1.4 times that allow by health regulations.
The findings have heightened concerns on food safety and intensified criticism on the Tokyo government's mishandling of the 550-trillion-yen ($5.45-trillion) project.
The new Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, elected in July, announced they were halting the transfer of the market and has yet to set a new date.
"I have decided to postpone the transfer of the market scheduled for November 7," Koike told the metropolitan assembly's session on Wednesday (September 28), adding: "We must discuss thoroughly what we need to prevent such problems from happening again as we are now preparing for important events such as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics."
This is now likely to affect plans to lengthen a road that had been hoped would link Tokyo 2020 Olympic village with downtown Tokyo and the National Stadium.
The controversy over the plan is at least the third major embarrassment faced by the 2020 organizers. Tokyo was forced to scrap the first stadium design because it was too expensive, and they had to redesign the Games logo after they were hit by accusations of plagiarism.
Two of the city's governors also have resigned over financial scandals since Tokyo won rights in 2013 to host the 2020 Olympics, promoting itself as a "safe pair of hands".
Olympic organizers say they are just hoping the delay will have as little an impact as possible on preparations.
Meantime, fish-sellers, many of whom already had reservations about the Toyosu location, are left in limbo.
"Looking at the situation now, I don't think they're capable of preparing for the Olympics. I think countries around the world are going to be worried -- since there so many problems just over the transfer of the market. It's an unfortunate situation," 23-year-old Naoto Kawasaki said.
The Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, in operation since 1935, is the world's biggest wholesale fish and seafood market where over 2100 tons of seafood worth 17 million yen ($167,000) are handled every day.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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