We want to protect TSUKIJI
Tokyo Metropolitan Central wholesale TSUKIJI Market (hereinafter TSUKIJI)
TSUKIJI is the world's largest fish market. TSUKIJI has been certified by the Guinness World Records as one of the world's largest markets dealing with seafood. Also recently it has become known as a facility that attracts a large number of tourists from all over the world.
If you come to TSUKIJI, then you will surely understand that the intermediate wholesaler’s (NAKAOROSHI) system is unparalleled in the world.
From the quality management of a wide variety of fish, sushi and supplying and selling to Japanese restaurants and fine dining eateries in general, it can be finely tuned to different retail customers ' needs. Indeed it is instrumental in supporting the food culture of Japan by providing very fresh fish at the table.
Hundreds of wholesale companies exist in TSUKIJI, such as those specializing in tuna, shrimp and shellfish. Thousands of people participate in this diverse resource, responsible for providing many varieties of marine products. In the center of this food culture, however, there has now become a serious situation.
For the last 10 years, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has been promoting a plan to relocate TSUKIJI to TOYOSU.
From the onset of this plan, many people realized that this relocation idea is reckless. Opposition or objection has erupted because transferring TSUKIJI will result in the loss of the essence of Japanese culinary culture nurtured by our predecessors.
Even so, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has tried to force a relocation plan. Aｓ a result, it has raised a lot of concerns.
The truth was finally revealed by the new governor last year. The previous governor broke his promises relating to the soil contamination countermeasures that must occur before construction at the resettlement site at TOYOSU.
The media only focused on this matter, however it is only part of the problem.
A plan has been announced that will destroy TSUKIJI. This plan is to demolish the Tsukiji market structure and use the area as a parking lot for busses during the Olympic Games. After the Olympic Games, urban development will be executed on the site.
The relocation to TOYOSU will fundamentally breakdown the role that TSUKIJI has been playing in supporting Japan's food culture, and thus will not work for a number of reasons.
Firstly, their plan ignores the current logistic system in TSUKIJI.
Secondly, their plan ignores the customers who come and shop in TSUKIJI.
Thirdly, it will be difficult for the wholesalers of TSUKIJI to continue to operate their businesses at TOYOSU.
Fourthly, the wholesalers cannot handle the fresh food properly, quickly and safely as in Tsukiji.
Finally, the workers will not be able to commute as they did to Tsukiji.
There are so many negative reasons that are against the relocation to TOYOSU, that the cons far outweigh the pros in regards to relocating to the new site.
Furthermore, the move to TOYOSU is too far from sushi and other restaurants in the downtown area (Ginza, Shimbashi and Akasaka), thus not allowing enough time for such restaurants to purchase supplies, return to their restaurants, and prepare lunch by noon.
TSUKIJI does not only consist of market buildings, but other related buildings and businesses that are closely connected and rely on an important sense of unity (so called 'Jonai, inside and Jogai, outside') that makes it work. This has been occurring over many generations, as there is a long history deeply rooted with the community surrounding TSUKIJI that includes food and many other establishments.
It is important to realize that the areas around TSUKUJI, like Ginza and Shinbashi districts, are connected to TSUKIJI and contribute to the urban functions of Tokyo. If TSUKIJI moves to TOYOSU, many intermediate wholesalers and restaurants will have to shut down their businesses, and producers' supply routes and suppliers will disappear. If they shut down their businesses, we are losing many different kinds of genuine professional skills that have been fostered over centuries.
The richness, variety and selection of fresh food is extremely important to the culture and the wellbeing of Japan. Fish and the raw diet have been handed down as a cultural heritage, along with the development of rice and sake.
Therefore we must keep TSUKIJI in TSUKIJI.
Differences in food culture by region is both essential, and an important aspect of cultural expression. For example, distribution of a tomato variety in the Mediterranean countries, and the distribution of a variety of corn in Latin America is the same. Their experience is not only a food exchange, but also a cultural exchange.
Trying to produce and present delicious food, and provide delicious dishes is common all over the world. Food culture and taste have no borders. When making delicious food, lies and trickery are not acceptable. True sincerity is the only way we can continue to produce delicious food.
TSUKIJI has been supporting Japan’s food culture for a long time. And that is our pride. So we are preparing ourselves to protect TUKIJI from the devil's hand of senseless urban development. We are sincerely hoping that many people living overseas who have known and love Japanese culture, understand the significance of protecting TSUKIJI.
Because of its rich history, it’s important connection to the city, and the supplier of the freshest fish and food to Japan’s food culture, we want everyone to understand what we are going through and believe in our cause to keep TSUKIJI.
TSUKIJI Okamisan's Association