Daily News

3. Toyosu market inquiry fails to pin blame

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike says an inquiry has failed to find out who was responsible for not putting clean soil under the buildings of the capital's new food market.
She hinted at a further investigation.

Koike released the results of an inquiry by the Tokyo government on Friday. The buildings at the Toyosu site were constructed to replace the aging wholesale food market at Tsukiji.

Experts had advised the Tokyo government years ago to cover the entire site with clean soil, as the ground was contaminated with chemicals from a gas plant that had stood there.

But after Koike took office last month, she disclosed that there were spaces beneath the buildings.

Koike said the in-house inquiry found that officials began discussing the plan to create the spaces in 2008 so they could monitor soil pollution after the market's opening.

She said that in August 2011, department and section chiefs confirmed the basic policy of creating the spaces. Officials are said to have discussed measures to deal with polluted soil between 2010 and 2013.

But the governor said the inquiry failed to identify who ultimately decided not to use the clean soil. She said the construction planning spanned multiple stages, and it is difficult to pinpoint who made the decision and when.

Koike said she appreciates the fact that Tokyo government officials carried out an investigation. But she said their report is inadequate and this will not be the end of the matter.

Koike suggested she will consider new steps, including a further probe and introducing a whistleblower system to prevent a recurrence of the problem.