Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara reiterated on Monday that he knew nothing specific about the metropolitan government’s negotiations to acquire a land plot for the relocation of the aging Tsukiji wholesale food market in Chuo Ward.
“I had entirely entrusted” then Vice Gov. Takeo Hamauzu to carry out the talks with Tokyo Gas Co. to acquire the polluted land tract in Toyosu in the neighboring Koto Ward, Ishihara said in his testimony as a sworn witness before the metropolitan assembly’s powerful investigative committee.
While admitting his responsibility as then chief of the capital for making a final decision on the Toyosu site acquisition, Ishihara said, “I have not received at all detailed reports [from Hamauzu] on progress in the negotiations.”
Hamauzu, who testified before the same committee the previous day, was commissioned by Ishihara in October 2000 to lead the negotiations and struck a basic accord in July the following year through behind-the-scenes talks.
In his one-hour testimony before the committee, set up under Article 100 of the local government law, the former Tokyo governor also said he does not remember whether or not he was informed of an agreement with Tokyo Gas that the Tokyo government would not ask the land seller to shoulder additional soil cleanup costs.
Meanwhile, Ishihara blamed current Gov. Yuriko Koike for “confusing safety [in scientific terms] with security [in emotional terms]” in deciding to put off the Tsukiji market’s relocation to Toyosu.Speech