Chuo Ward officials are trying to reel in a fresh fish market in the area that will be vacated when the Tsukiji fish market moves to the Toyosu district of Koto Ward in fiscal 2014.
Ward officials are hoping to maintain the area's popularity as a tourist attraction for foreign visitors. They plan to set up the new market in ward-owned land in Tsukiji Outer Market that lies adjacent to the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market, as the Tsukiji fish market is formally known.
Chuo Ward included a figure for design of the new facility in its fiscal 2012 budget announced on Feb. 7. Construction would begin in fiscal 2013, and the opening is slated for before the move to Toyosu, planned by the Tokyo metropolitan government for fiscal 2014.
The site of the new market in Chuo Ward will be about one hectare of land in the area where about 400 outlets currently sell various foods. Plans call for building a structure that would hold about 100 outlets, selling everything from seafood to fresh produce. Each outlet would have between 16.5 to 19.8 square meters of space, and the new market would be an open facility with no walls between the individual merchants.
Ward officials hope to attract not only tourists, but also professional chefs shopping for their restaurants.
The special atmosphere and vitality of the Tsukiji fish market arises from the chemistry between the central wholesale market and the Tsukiji Outer Market. However, with the central wholesale market scheduled to move to Toyosu, there were concerns among owners of the outlets in the Tsukiji Outer Market that their businesses would subsequently go under.
The latest Chuo Ward plan is based on the thinking that the attractions of the culture and history developed by the Tsukiji fish market should be preserved.
While there will be no auctions at the new fresh fish market, ward officials feel the facility can meet the needs of restaurants and bars by handling seafood and produce near Ginza close to central Tokyo after purchasing the products at the new Toyosu market.
There are also hopes that the new facility will provide a venue for middlemen who want to remain in the Tsukiji district even after the move to Toyosu.
Based on the ward plan, the Chuo Ward government plans to sign an agreement with the Tokyo metropolitan government that would contain promises by Tokyo that it would take into consideration the intentions of the ward even after the Tsukiji fish market is moved.
Chuo Ward officials have informed their counterparts in the Tokyo metropolitan government of their desire to rent some of the metropolitan government's facilities, such as the parking lot and refrigeration warehouse, immediately after the move to Toyosu.
For their part, Tokyo metropolitan government officials plan to use the funds from the sale to the private sector of the 23 hectares or so that will be freed up after the move to Toyosu to pay for construction of the new fish market. Chuo Ward officials are seeking to gain the cooperation of whatever entity purchases the land so that the area as a whole can become a base for food culture.
Chuo Ward officials had long argued for keeping the fish market at its present site in Tsukiji. However, the ward government accepted the Toyosu move after the Tokyo metropolitan government passed its budget last March that included funding for the move.
Tokyo metropolitan government officials have said they were willing to cooperate with the ward in its new urban development plan since common acceptance of the move had been achieved.
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