Category Archives: Waste

Emergency Meeting: Definitely Cancel the Planned Move of the Tsukiji Fish Market to Toyosu!

Participants: Consumers Union of Japan & Food Safety Citizens’ Watch

CUJ & Food Safety Citizens’ Watch held an emergency meeting on November 10, 2016 to discuss the emerging problems with the planned move of Tokyo’s wholesale fish market from Tsukiji to Toyosu. We demand that Tokyo Metropolitan Governor Yuriko Koike should definitely cancel the move to the heavily polluted Toyosu Island in Tokyo Bay. We have followed this debate closely since 2006 and wish Mrs. Koike would listen to the voices of concerned consumers. At our meeting, we adopted a resolution highlighting the importance of food and to never allow a polluted place to become a market where food is handled.

Resolution: “We demand that the move to Toyosu Island is definitely cancelled for the sake of food safety and peace of mind”

Tsukiji Market is the world’s largest. We take pride in it being a place known as “Japan’s kitchen” and regard the move of the market to Toyosu as not only being a problem for the citizens of Tokyo. Continue reading Emergency Meeting: Definitely Cancel the Planned Move of the Tsukiji Fish Market to Toyosu!

Pollution Problems In Tohoku Need More Attention

Writers Winnifred Bird and Elizabeth Grossman has written a very interesting article about the pollution issues and potential health effects in Tohoku. They note that damage to the region’s industrial facilities has been extensive:

Oil refineries burst into flames in the days after the disaster, sending black smoke billowing into the air. Sewer and gas lines burst, and old electrical equipment containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) was washed away. Petro- and agrochemical plants, iron foundries, steel works, and automotive, electronics, food processing, paper, plastics, and pharmaceutical plants were among those that suffered damage. As cleanup continues in the disaster area, questions remain about the fate of chemical contaminants released by these damaged industrial facilities and other sources, and the environmental health hazards they might pose to the hundreds of thousands of people living and working in this area.

Read the entire report for more details.

Bird WA, Grossman E, 2011 Chemical Aftermath: Contamination and Cleanup Following the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. Environ Health Perspect 119(7). (July 1, 2011)

Moving Tokyo’s Fish Market: Tsukiji In Trouble

Consumers Union of Japan and the Food Safety Citizens’ Watch are involved in the efforts to get to the bottom of the proposed move of Tsukiji, Tokyo’s famous fish market. FSCW notes that the new site at Toyosu  is an old factory site in Koto Ward once operated by Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.

This 40 hectares site was found to be heavily polluted with carcinogenic benzene at levels some 43,000 times higher than permitted, and cyanide compounds found to be some 800 times higher than levels considered safe. Levels of other toxins such as arsenic, lead, mercury and hexavalent chromium were also found to be high at the Toyosu site. Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. operated the plant at Toyasu from 1956 to 1976 to produce city gas from coal. The soil and ground water pollution is a serious side-effect from the industrial manufacturing process.

The Wholesales Co-operatives of Tokyo Fish Market has voted against the relocation as details about the soil contamination were made public. Fish market officials feel that they cannot guarantee the safety of the food in case the market is moved. They have set up the Association to Study Tsukiji Market, and are asking everyone in Tokyo to participate in the campaign against the relocation.

“We can only note here that many questions have been ignored about the proposed new site. The authorities are considering spending an enormous amount of money on decontaminating the soil, but there are no concrete data about safe levels. This is not just a problem for Tsukiji or Toyosu, but for many other polluted factory sites around Japan, ” says Takako Hasuo from the Home Nutrition Research Society and Food Safety Citizens’ Watch.

FSCW: Moving Tokyo’s fish market: Deception and hidden safety problems

The Food Safety Citizens’ Watch was established in April 2003 as a network of experts to monitor developments and make proposals to the government regarding food safety issues from the citizen’s point of view.

The Japan Times: Plastic Incineration Rise Draws Ire

Saturday Nov. 3, 2007:

Plastic Incineration Rise Draws Ire

Environmentalists unswayed by limited tests, fears risks


Yasuko Ueda, a writer and outspoken activist with the Tokyo-based Consumers Union of Japan, a nongovernmental organization, noted that the government has invoked the Containers and Packaging Recycling Law to require that plastics be re-used as “resources” to the greatest extent possible, but complained that her own ward, Setagaya, does far too little to either recycle plastic or curtail its production from the start.

Ueda said she estimated that waste plastic could be reduced by about half were the directive followed more aggressively.

“The amount of plastic that absolutely must be incinerated will be only a tiny amount and the (lifetime of dump sites) can be extended by 10 years and beyond,” Ueda said. “If they just skip over those steps and categorize all that plastic as burnable,” she continued, “don’t you think that’s wrongheaded?”