JAPAN: After 83 years in operation, the Tsukiji fish market was finally moved to a new site at the Toyosu waterfront area, an artificial island in Tokyo bay.
Tokyo's iconic market closed its doors on 6 October 2018, when the last tuna auction took place. The new market, which has a surface of 407,000 square metres, is scheduled to open on 11 October 2018.
The market move experienced several delays due to a contamination issue underground in the new facilities and the review of the project, and was also the reason of strong controversy. A survey by a group opposed to the Tsukji relocation found that more than 80 per cent of traders were against the move to the new site, an artificial island.
"I am very grateful and happy that we could have continued business smoothly all these years until today. I would like to thank Tsukiji from the bottom of my heart," Hiroyasu Itoh, chair of the seafood wholesalers’ association, told Reuters reporters.
Tokyo authorities are still unsure about Tsukiji area’s future, where the demolition works are to start on Thursday, The Yomiuri Shimbun informed.
At the former Tsukiji site in Chuo Ward, Tokyo, a temporary road is scheduled to open and will connect central Tokyo with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Athletes’ Village. The site will also be turned into a parking lot for the Games. However, concrete plans to redevelop the site after the Games have yet to be mapped out.
Tokyo Government Yuriko Koike announced in June last year a policy of redeveloping the Tsukiji area by leasing the land to private entities, stressing that she would protect Tsukiji and make good use of Toyosu.
A study panel of the metropolitan government that is discussing how to use the vacated land presented in May this year some basic directions, such as having the area work in cooperation with nearby Hama-rikyu Gardens and creating a transport hub at the site.
The metropolitan government said it will take until the end of this fiscal year to draw up a concrete plan.