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Environmental study held at Toyosu market on assumption soil bank would be laid

An environmental assessment report on the new Toyosu wholesale market in Tokyo was compiled on the assumption that a soil bank would be laid on the site as a soil contamination countermeasure, it has been learned.

However, the plan was changed and a soil bank was never laid on the premises of the Toyosu market in Koto Ward, which has been built to replace Tsukiji market at the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market in Chuo Ward.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is considering revising the assessment report after a panel of experts re-examines safety measures at the new market. However, if the assessment is to be redone, it will take more than a year. Even if the safety of the market is confirmed, the transfer of the Tsukiji market could be further delayed.

"Generally speaking, it takes about a month from the time when a notice on changes to the assessment report is submitted to the time when it's decided whether to redo the assessment. If an assessment needs to be redone, it'll take about a year and three months," Gov. Yuriko Koike said.

According to metropolitan government officials, the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market division drafted the environmental assessment report on the Toyosu market in November 2010, and submitted the document to the Bureau of Environment.

The document was released in August 2011 as an official assessment report after being approved by a committee comprised of experts.

The report states that a 2-meter-deep layer of surface soil would be removed from the site and a 4.5-meter soil bank would be laid on the premises, which would prevent any contaminant from being exposed and posing a threat to the environment.

An official of the Bureau of Environment said, "The blueprint did not show any underground hollow space, and the assessment was based on the plan to lay a soil base. Any change to the original plan should've been reported."

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