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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class: News and Current Events in Japan, Season 1 - Lesson 8, The Tsukiji Market Relocation Issue.
The Tsukiji Market was scheduled to be transferred to the Toyosu ward, but an alarming number of problems arose. From scandals to environmental issues, the transfer of the market has been delayed numerous times.
In this lesson, we'll learn about this news story.

Lesson focus

Tsukiji Market, located in Tokyo, in the Chuo ward, is the world’s largest public wholesale market.
As the market’s facilities began to age and the amount of products being handled continued to increase, an agreement was formulated under Governor Shintaro Ishihara’s administration in 2004 that would move the market to the Toyosu ward.
It was known from the beginning that Toyosu was where the Tokyo Gas facilities were once located and that the soil was in fact contaminated.
As a result, there was also a movement to oppose the relocation for safety reasons. However, the construction of the new markets proceeded, pushed forward by promoters and sponsors, and relocation was scheduled to be carried out in November, 2016.
However, when Governor Kazuichi Masuzoe, who was initially supposed to have carried out the relocation, was forced to resign due to numerous scandals, the situation changed dramatically.
Yuriko Koike, Tokyo’s next governor, took over and halted the relocation after taking office.
She said the relocation needed to be re-examined, stating that the move could not occur while the safety of the soil and water quality was still suspect.
Many people were optimistic at first, but shocking survey results were soon revealed in quick succession and the situation became turbulent, not only in Tokyo, but all throughout Japan.
Most concerningly, the surveys revealed that countermeasures against soil contamination had, in fact, not been conducted. The filling in of empty caverns under the basement of the new location had not been done, and they were now largely filled with water that had seeped in, which contained harmful substances that had accumulated.
People also felt great disbelief that the explanation provided by the city regarding this matter had changed twice.
In January 2017, it became clear that harmful substances, such as benzene, whose levels were 79 times higher than environmental regulations allow, were detected in the groundwater.
Finally, the metropolitan government unanimously decided to open an Article 100 Committee to investigate the truth about this series of problems and to discover the source of responsibility.
It is also important to investigate the truth in Congress, but the most serious matter at the moment is how to compensate the Tsukiji contractor who was seriously affected by the postponement of the transfer.
In addition, there are urgent issues regarding how to respond to the deterioration of Tsukiji, how to deal with the Toyosu facilities, and so on.
However, since it is a problem with food safety that is at the root of this issue, it goes without saying that careful correspondence is necessary.


Those are the key facts about the relocation of Tsukiji market.
If you want to find the related Japanese keywords, make sure to check out the lesson notes.
Okay, that’s all for this lesson. Thank you for listening everyone, and keep listening for more of the most talked about news stories in Japan!