Japanese Fish Market’s Relocation Causes Controversy

November 30, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. iconic / aɪˈkɒn ɪk / (adj.) – classic and widely-known; considered important
Example: Egypt’s iconic pyramids are known all over the world.

2. plant / plænt / (n.) – any establishment used for industrial purposes
Example: The city engineers visited the power plant for maintenance.

3. elevate / ˈɛl əˌveɪt / (v.) – to raise something to a higher level
Example: The engineer elevated the building’s ground floor because the area is prone to flooding.

4. acceptable / ækˈsɛp tə bəl / (adj.) – within safe levels
Example: The chemicals are found to be at acceptable levels, so there is nothing to worry about.

5. groundwater / ˈgraʊndˈwɔ tər / (n.) – water found underground where water from wells come from
Example: Chemicals seeping into the ground may contaminate groundwater.


Read the text below.
The relocation plan of Japan’s iconic fish market has caused controversy after the government disregarded expert advice.

The 80-year old Tsukiji Fish Market is the world’s largest fish market and handles more than 700,000 tons of seafood daily. Upon hearing the news of the market’s relocation, many people flocked to the market’s restaurants to dine in them for the last time.

The market will be transferred to a new site to make way for the construction of a highway. The government intends to connect two Olympic villages to the stadium through a new road, which will pass through Tsukiji’s original location.

However, the relocation site is being scrutinized because it used to house a gas plant. The plant converted coal into gas, thus igniting fear that some harmful chemicals may have remained there.

Experts recommended replacing the relocation site’s soil with new soil, and elevating the structures above by 4.5 meters. However, instead of replacing the soil and elevating the structures, a 4.5-meter concrete space was built under the site. The space contains the water pipes and electrical wires for the new Tsukiji Market, which will have a modern refrigeration system.

Upon investigation, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government identified eight officials who disregarded the advice of the experts. The officials are facing disciplinary action from the metropolitan government.

In response to the controversy, experts said that chemical levels in the site have been reduced to acceptable levels. However, the city governor said that final groundwater testing needs to be conducted, postponing the relocation’s completion to 2017.

Originally, the relocation was supposed to be completed by November this year. Officials worry that the postponed relocation would also delay the construction of the highway for the Olympics.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think that initiatives for the 2020 Olympics should be prioritized over the 80-year-old Tsukiji Fish Market?
·         What alternative steps can be taken so that the fish market can be retained in its original location?

Discussion B

·         Do you think that the Tsukiji Fish Market will maintain its appeal once it is relocated? Why or why not?
·         Which is more important: modernization or preservation? Explain.

November 30, 2016