Japan: Famous Tsukiji Fish Market Evacuated After Fire Breaks Out

Japan: Famous Tsukiji Fish Market Evacuated After Fire Breaks Out

A fire broke out at one of Tokyo's most popular tourist destinations on August 3.

"I hope the area will be able to quickly recover to what it was before", said Mr Kiyoshi Kimura, president of a company that operates the sushi chain Sushi Zanmai. The fire had started at around 4.50pm, Japanese media reported. As the evening wore on, more than 60 fire trucks were brought through the narrow streets surrounding the market to work on the fire.

Tsukiji's interior industrial market - where the famous tuna auctions take place - was undamaged and the area was open to tourists as usual.

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Numerous stores and restaurants were already closed for the day, and none of their workers were apparently in the facilities when the fire broke out. The Tsukiji "inner" market, where most seafood wholesalers are located and world-famous tuna auctions are carried out at dawn, was not affected.

The fire was at Tsukiji's "outer" market - an area packed with informal restaurants where tourists can tuck into fresh seafood plates and sushi. "There's no information indicating arson, but again, it's still too early to say". However, those plans have been repeatedly delayed and concerns have been raised about contamination at the new site. The market was originally supposed to move in November of previous year, a plan that had been in motion for decades, freeing up the site to be used during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

This latest fire comes a month after Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said that fish market will be moved to a new location. In a nod to the history of the market, Koike modified the plans to build a "food theme park" at the original Tsukiji site, instead of selling it off for development.

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