Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike has decided to relocate the fish market to the Toyosu waterfront district from Tsukiji after additional safety measures are taken to ease pollution concerns, sources familiar with the matter said Saturday.
Koike will consider converting the current site in Tsukiji to a different commercial site instead of selling it as originally planned, the sources said.
She is expected to announce the decision early next week before campaigning starts Friday for the metropolitan assembly election on July 2, they said. The market transfer is expected to be one of the major election issues.
Meanwhile, Koike met with people working at the Tsukiji wholesale fish and vegetable market Saturday to hear opinions about the stalled relocation.
Koike apologized for the delay in addressing pollution concerns at the transfer site in the Toyosu area.
The meeting came after she received a report Tuesday from a metropolitan government-appointed task force which made proposals centering on the use of both the Tsukiji and Toyosu sites.
"We need the wisdom of all of you to decide how to save, sustain and further develop the Tsukiji market, which is Tokyo's treasure," she said at the start of the gathering.
The Tokyo government had planned to sell the Tsukiji site to repay debt issued to finance the new market construction at Toyosu. The task force proposals included a conversion of the aging Tsukiji market, famous for its daily fish auctions, to a different commercial facility.
Koike said upon receiving the proposals she wants to make the most of the Tsukiji market's name recognition.
After becoming governor last August, Koike put on hold the planned fish market transfer citing the pollution concerns.
Toxic chemicals above the government-set limit have been continuously found in the area that was previously occupied by a gas production plant, with benzene at up to 100 times the government safety limit found in March and April.