Tokyo assembly to summon Ishihara to testify over Tsukiji market relocation


The Tokyo metropolitan assembly decided Wednesday to summon former Gov Shintaro Ishihara and his close aide to appear as sworn witnesses before a powerful committee looking into the controversial relocation plan for the Tsukiji fish market.

The assembly passed a proposal submitted by four major parties to establish the committee, which can compel individuals to testify and submit relevant records. Witnesses who give false testimony could face prosecution for perjury.

It is the first time for the assembly to set up such a committee since 2005.

Ishihara was governor when the metropolitan government decided to buy land in the Toyosu area to relocate the famous but aging fish market. A hearing with Ishihara and Takeo Hamauzu, a former deputy governor, is likely to be held in late March.

Gov Yuriko Koike has put the move on hold due to contamination at the new location, the site of a former gas production plant, and has publicly called for Ishihara to clarify his role in the purchase.

Koike emphasized in her policy speech Wednesday that her administration will investigate the decision-making process for the relocation of the market and clarify who was responsible for the land purchase.

Ishihara and Hamauzu were previously scheduled to appear between March 18 and 20 before a separate special assembly committee on the relocation issue. But the assembly decided to hold a hearing with the more powerful committee empowered to investigate the issue under the local autonomy law.