Tokyo Governor Koike Implies Change in Position on Polluted Soil Issue
Tokyo is to have moved its fish market in Tsukiji to a new site in Toyosu back in November last year, but the project is being postponed due to a series of mishaps - notably the issue of soil pollution on the site of the new market.
Data show the site is polluted with benzene 79 times the maximum environmental restriction and Koike had suspended the relocation project pending the outcome of the ongoing survey.
A petition was filed by local citizens over the purchase of a highly polluted land space in Toyosu as the site of a new fish market - demanding the Tokyo metropolitan government to have the former Governor Ishihara pay 57.8 billion yen for having arranged the purchase, but the government has hitherto maintained not to comply.
Now, Governor Koike told the press January 20 that her government is reconsidering its position to re-investigate into Ishihara's responsibility in effecting the purchase of a polluted piece of land.
Koike will install a 7/8-man defense counsel to clarify the process of purchase of Toyosu, look into materials and proceedings pertaining to the purchase and, if and when necessary, to summon related individuals to substantiate its study - implying the former Governor Ishihara may be subjected to a hearing.
The metropolitan assembly had debated rather heatedly over the issue up until October, 2010 when the then Governor Ishihara opted to decide in favor of acquiring the piece of land and subsequently allocated funds to effect a clean-up project to remove the toxic substance, including raising the ground level, etc.
The former Governor Ishihara says he is prepared to answer any question if posed in writing.
Kazuko Mizutani, a plaintiff in the suit, commented on Koike's move to reexamine her government's position:
"I certainly wish to see new facts come out as I do want the responsible people to tell the truth - including the former Governor Ishihara."