JAPAN: Tokyo’s world famous fish market Tsukiji is undergoing difficulties as a consequence of its inadequate air conditioning system to face the intense heatwave hitting Japan.
As a result, seafood wholesalers find it difficult to keep their fish fresh, a critical situation at present due to the unprecedented hot weather, AFP reported.
The air conditioning renewal is not an option at the moment, since after more than 80 years in operation at the current site, Tokyo's traditional market is to be relocated in the adjacent Toyosu district. The original idea was scheduled for 2016 but the plans have been delayed because of the soil contamination issues at the new site.
Wholesalers are trying to keep the temperature there at around 15 degrees to keep the pricey frozen tuna fresh, but the air conditioning equipment in the section stopped working properly just as the record-breaking heat wave began in mid-July.
To deal with this, wholesalers and trucking companies are joining hands to store frozen tuna in trucks with powerful freezing equipment until the auction site opens at 4:30 a.m.
After they are laid out for sale, the tuna are covered with sheets to help keep them frozen. Cardboard boxes are also being piled up near the market’s entrances to help keep the cool air in.
The situation is more severe in the selling areas for other fish, such as mackerel, which is being exposed to outside air because there is no air conditioning. The wholesalers are thus using lots of ice and coolants to keep these fish cold.
Tsukiji’s struggle is expected to continue because weather forecasters have warned the public to prepare for further spells of scorching weather.
The current site is the world’s biggest fish market and a popular tourist attraction in an area packed with restaurants and shops.
Tsukiji opened in 1935 and is famed for its pre-dawn tuna auctions. It is the largest wholesale market and an important tourist attraction in Tokyo.