An announcement from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has revealed that the 2014 relocation of the Tsukiji wholesale fish market in Chuo Ward has been delayed by one year. A Tokyo official stated that the extended timeframe was because of ongoing decontamination work at the new site. This is not related to the decontamination efforts in Fukushima, but rather a chemical substance that was found several years ago.
The new location for the Tsukiji market is in Toyosu, Koto Ward. However, in 2008 43,000 times the environmental standard of the chemical benzene was found in the soil. With the decontamination work costing the Tokyo government nearly 58.6 billion yen (approx. $671 million), the site was originally scheduled to be ready by the end of 2013, allowing construction to begin.
The government says it has discovered new contamination around 10 meters below ground, making additional work necessary that wasn’t prepared for. The total cost of relocating the famous market is said to be 390 billion yen ($4.46 billion), and the 40.7-hectare site will include new buildings for the market and wholesalers’ shops, along with an additional fruit and vegetable market, and tourist facilities. As the largest wholesale fish market in the world, the Tokyo landmark has been in its present location for more than 75 years. And while its current infrastructure facilities have long been rundown, the market continues to draw more visitors and tourists each year.