Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Sayonara Tsukiji! Relocation of Tokyo's famed fish market begins

Each New Year's Day high-profile buyers have vied to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for the top tuna at the first auction of the year Each New Year's Day high-profile buyers have vied to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for the top tuna at the first auction of the year
Jean Garcia | 08 October, 2018, 05:57

In small vehicles and the market's famed "turret trucks" - one-man flatbeds with a barrel-shaped steering column at the front - they drove out of the Tsukiji site one last time, headed for Toyosu, the market's new home. But it had become dilapidated and unsanitary, city officials said in planning the move to a new site in Toyosu, a man-made island in Tokyo Bay.

The bluefin tuna, pictured above, sold for a hefty 74.2 million yen ($615,350; £499,235) at last year's auction - but well short of the record of more than $1.7m paid for a single bluefin in 2013.

Each New Year's Day, high-profile buyers vied to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for the top tuna at the first auction of the year.

The reopening at the Toyosu site is scheduled for Thursday.

Tsukiji, which is the largest fish market in the world, will now serve the objective of a temporary parking garage for the 2020 Summer Olympics, which will be held in Japan's capital, a report in the Al-Jazeera stated.

Some 2,600 haulage vehicles and forklifts used at the aging Tsukiji market are supposed to move to the Toyosu market from Saturday to Wednesday.

The relocation will also be something of a blow to tourists, who often lined up for hours to secure one of just 120 spots to view Tsukiji's pre-dawn tuna auction.

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The new site will feature state-of-the-art refrigeration and confine throngs of tourists to special galleries behind glass.

But the move has proved controversial, with rows breaking out over pollution and the loss of Tsukiji's globally recognised brand.

After experts declared Toyosu safe, the Tokyo governor took the final decision to move the market there in late 2017, ending years of delays.

The so-called outer market - home to shops selling food and other goods - will remain after the move.

He acknowledged the need for a move but said he was torn between "hopes and fears" about the new site.

But the warehouses that housed vendors and additional shops and restaurants are expected to be levelled to make way, initially, for a transport depot for the 2020 Olympic Games.

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