Dear Mr. Yoshiro Mori
The Tokyo Organising Committee of
the Olympic and Paralympic Games
LETTER OF REQUEST
We, Tsukiji Okami-san Kai (Tsukiji Women’s Association), are a group established by women working in Tsukiji Market to demand the cancellation of the relocation of Tsukiji Market under the slogan of “Tsukiji for Everyone.” We would like to thank you for your taking time out of your schedule while you prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Today, we have come here to tell you that we and other people working in Tsukiji Market are terribly bothered by two plans, which are being led by your committee and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, 1) to dismantle Tsukiji Market to use the site as a car park (a transportation base) for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games and 2) to construct the Loop Road Non.2 in time for the Olympic Games.
For the following reasons, we would like to request that you change these plans.
Firstly, there is no certainty that it is feasible to proceed with the relocation plan of Tsukiji Market initiated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. As your committee may know, the soil contamination issue in Toyosu Market, a proposed area for the new market to replace Tsukiji Market, has not been solved yet amid the fact that any of agreements made with us has not been realized; namely, “detoxification” (the pollutants derived from the operation of Tokyo Gas must be detoxified below the level of the environmental standards), “fill,” and “groundwater management.” Those concerned in Tsukiji Market were so angry at unfulfilled promises that as of February 1, 2017, 393, or over 70 percent, of 553 wholesalers belonging to the fisheries department of Tsukiji Market consented to our“Signature-Collecting Campaign to Request the Cancellation of the Relocation to New Toyosu Market” which we conducted by the last February. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government says that it will take “additional measures”, but most of those concerned are not convinced by its explanation. At present, there remains too much to be done to solve the problems
In addition, the relocation of Tsukiji Market requires the approval from the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in accordance with the Wholesale Market Act. The government statements endorsed by the cabinet meeting in 2007 mention this issue. The statements indicate that “The government also recognizes how important it is to obtain the understanding of those concerned in the markets and of consumers on the relocation of central wholesale markets and its operations,” and that “as for the relocation of Tsukiji Market, because it is the issue involving a wholesale market as an important foundation for food distribution, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries requests Tokyo Metropolitan Government, which is planning to relocate Tsukiji Market, to take all possible measures necessary to secure food safety and reliability from a scientific perspective, to fully explain to consumers, etc. about the contents of such measures, and to obtain their understanding.” In a meeting of the Lower House Budget Committee held on October 3, 2017, a confirmation was made by Prime Minister Abe that the current government holds up the same policy.
Considering the present situation where no sufficient explanation has been provided to those concerned nor has their understanding been obtained, it is apparent that the situation doesn’t allow the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to approve the relocation.
Secondly, as far as the construction of the Loop Road No.2 is concerned, there is an agreement with those concerned in Tsukiji Market. Initially, “the Loop Road No.2 as a city planning road” under the city planning activities was designed as a road that runs beneath Tsukiji Market. However, after the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market determined the relocation of Tsukiji Market, the road planning was altered such that it will stretch from the bridge and run above the ground of the existing Tsukiji Market through to the underground tunnel, and it was approved by the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. Nonetheless, as you know, the soil contamination problem resurfaced as benzene 43,000 times as much as the environmental standards was detected in the soil of Toyosu Market, a proposed area for the new market. It was at that point in time that the road planning should have been altered. However, it was left unattended, resulting in that Tsukiji Market and the Loop Road No.2 overlap with each other. Then, Tsukiji Market set up the “Tsukiji Market Loop Road No.2 Construction Coordinating Committee” under the Tsukiji Market Business Operation Council established pursuant to the Wholesale Market Act to coordinate the construction of the Loop Road No.2, and we have been cooperating for the construction of bridge supports and makeshift detours, etc.
Meanwhile, as a precondition for us and those concerned in Tsukiji Market to cooperate for the construction of the Loop Road No.2, there was an important agreement with us. It was that “the construction work of the Loop Road No.2 should not hamper any operation of the wholesale market.” We, wholesalers in Tsukiji Market, have the responsibility to securely provide fresh food consigned by producers to consumers. Therefore, it should never happen that any operation of wholesale markets is hindered. Naturally, the construction of the Loop Road No.2 can’t cause Tsukiji Market to relocate without consideration of the circumstances within Tsukiji Market. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism having jurisdiction over city planning activities also admits it.
Some media reports say that “the Loop Road No.2 will not be completed in time because Tsukiji Market doesn’t relocate itself.” However, they only cause us much discomfort feeling as we have been cooperating for the construction work of the Loop Road No.2 by demolishing two refrigerated warehouses (it takes a great amount of labor to move all the goods.) and by using narrow traffic lines as effectively as possible. If the Loop Road No.2 is not completed by the Olympic Games, it is not our responsibility. It is the Bureau of Construction of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government that undertook the plan despite much problems and that was aware that there would be a possibility that the relocation plan itself might be suspended depending on the situation. Its responsibility should be called into question as a project implementing body, shouldn’t they? Please understand that the Loop Road No.2 project contains these issues.
As above, we have mentioned two points. And, recently, an important meeting of the New Market Construction Council, where the opening date of Toyosu Market was supposed to be determined, was called off. In the first place, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government officially requested industry groups to “coordinate the timing of the relocation” on October 16. Specifically, it requested that industry groups decide within the month that the relocation of Tsukiji Market would be carried out in September to October 2018. It was a far too hasty request. Documents prepared by the New Market Construction Council explain the reason why the Tokyo Metropolitan Government hurries the relocation. The documents say that “after the relocation, the demolish work of Tsukiji Market will start from October so that the construction of the surface road of the Loop Road No.2 and a transportation base on the site, both of which are necessary for the operation of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, can be developed smoothly. As explained earlier, however, we, people working in Tsukiji Market, are far from ready to decide on the relocation timing. Even as we speak, the ground water level is rising against the promise that it will lower, and the monitoring contamination level also has exceeded 120 times as much as the environmental standards. Facilities for logistics and traffic access also have numerous problems. Under such circumstances, we hope that your committee will understand how much troubles we are suffering from being urged to decide on the relocation timing under the excuse of the Olympic Games. Our current understanding is that this is no longer an issue of whether to meet the schedule, or rather, it is still too premature for us to discuss it.
We wish that the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games would result in great success. If there is anything we can do, we are willing to work together as before. However, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has been doing us a grave disservice. If this far-fetched plan continues to be pursued, it will cause the greatest perplexity. What brought us here is our belief that such a situation will not benefit the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, not to mention Tsukiji Market. We would like to ask for the kind understanding of your committee.
Last but not least, we, Tsukiji Okami-san Kai, are proud of our Tsukiji Market that we have inherited from earlier generations. Its properly arranged facilities create the highest efficiency in logistics and its beautiful arch-shaped layout spreading out in a fan-like form has continued to attract tourists from around world. We believe that Tsukiji Market can sustain this nation’s fresh food distribution for at least 100 years from now. Again, please allow us to welcome visitors from around the world at this Tsukiji Market when the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games is held.
- Re-examination of the plans that relocate Tsukiji Market in a hasty manner to dismantle it and to use the site as a transportation base for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
- Concerning the Loop Road No.2, your committee recommends that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government should not implement any construction plan that may hamper any operation of the wholesale market until the relocation issue has been resolved, given the fact that there is an agreement with those concerned in Tsukiji Market.
Tsukiji Okami-san Kai
(Tsukiji Women’s Association)
Dear Members of the Media
Thank you very much for coming here today. As already announced, we have paid a visit to the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (President: Yoshiro Mori) in Toranomon at 13:00 pm today to make requests on changes of the plan to use the site of Tsukiji Market as a “transportation base for the Olympic Games” after its relocation and on the issue of Tokyo’s Loop Road No. 2.
There are two key points in our requests. The first point is that among those who are concerned in Tsukiji Market, no consensus has been made on its relocation. Therefore, the viability of the market relocation itself is doubtful, and this issue including an approval by the government is supposed to be further explained. The second point is about Loop Road No.2. As a precondition to cooperate for the construction of the road, there has been an agreement with us and those who are concerned in Tsukiji Market that the construction work of Loop Road No.2 will never hamper any operation in Tsukiji Market. We have informed the Olympic Organizing Committee that “we can’t allow Tsukiji Market to be relocated just because the road will be built there.” We assume that our requests have been understood by the Committee.
Another announcement today is about “A Signature-Collecting Campaign to Petition for Voting by All Members of Associations on Relocation of Tsukiji Market.” We are pleased to announce that as of today, the number of collected signatures stands at 273, exceeding a majority of all members. We will submit the collected signatures to the Wholesales Co-Operative of Tokyo Fish Market (also known as “Tou-Oroshi”) as early as tomorrow. The fact that a majority of members’ signatures have gathered mean that even if Mr. Hayama, a chairperson of “Tou-Oroshi,” gives his consent on a relocation schedule, which is to be discussed in the New Market Construction Council, his consent will not represent any consensus among members. This issue is not one that concerns Tou-Oroshi alone. We have also heard about complaints that parachutists “twist” opinions of members in other industry groups such as related sectors. We are planning to spread this signature-collecting campaign to other organizations as well.
We thank you for your attendance out of your busy schedule.
November 28, 2017
Tsukiji Okami-san Kai
(Tsukiji Women’s Association)