Tokyo officials taken to task over soil issue at fish market


Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike said Friday the metropolitan government has taken to task 18 current and former officials in connection with a soil safety issue at the relocation site for the capital’s Tsukiji wholesale food market.

Koike told a press conference the officials had been reprimanded because they were either involved in the decision not to lay a thick layer of clean soil at the site for the new market in Toyosu or they provided false explanations about the issue to assembly members.

Twelve of the 18 were handed pay cuts, with one being given the severest punishment—a 20 percent cut in pay for six months.

“I take responsibility as the head of the metropolitan government,” Koike said, adding that she had given herself a 20 percent pay cut for three months even though the officials’ decision not to follow metropolitan government policy was made before she assumed her post in August.

“I apologize again for causing trouble to relevant people in the industry and Tokyo citizens,” Koike said.

Six officials who have already retired, including Vice Gov. Mitsuru Nakanishi, were asked to voluntarily return some of their past pay.

The problem came to light in September when it was discovered that fresh clean soil had not been laid as a pollution control measure at the Toyosu site, which was previously occupied by a gas plant.

Empty concrete chambers had been installed instead, triggering public concern over the safety of food to be sold at the new site.

Although the Toyosu market was initially scheduled to open in November, Koike decided to delay its launch, saying its relocation will not take place for at least a year due to pending safety checks.

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