TOKYO -- Gov. Yuriko Koike aims to relocate Tokyo's landmark Tsukiji fish market to the Toyosu waterfront district in May 2018 by working closely with vendors and others to ensure the smoothest transition possible.
"The move must happen by the end of 2018," she told The Nikkei in an interview Wednesday. "We'll relocate to a new wholesale market in Toyosu with the cooperation and understanding of industry players."
Koike eyes a move in May because it is a slow time for the market and a period with a string of public holidays.
The swift move will be necessary because the site "will become a transport hub and parking lot for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games." She acknowledged that a planned underground tunnel there to connect the Olympic village with central Tokyo will not be completed in time, suggesting instead that a route can be threaded by building roads.
The Tokyo governor had announced plans Tuesday to redevelop Tsukiji within five years of the fish market's move.
"We will draw on the private sector for ideas on funding the redevelopment," she said.
Koike also raised questions about the future of Tokyo's 11 wholesale markets.
"Tsukiji is not the only one facing a decrease in transaction volume, given the changes caused by the rise of e-commerce and major direct-to-consumer channels," she said. "I'm looking at how relevant laws change. This is not only a time for new ideas, but for a change in the way we think itself."