Iconic Tsukiji market finds a new purpose

View over the Tsukiji area in Tokyo, Japan. (Credit: Melpomenem/Getty Images)
View over the Tsukiji area in Tokyo, Japan. (Credit: Melpomenem/Getty Images)

After 80 years as a fish market, the land originally occupied by Tokyo's iconic Tsukiji market will become an international conference centre under plans proposed on Wednesday by city authorities.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government wants to divide the 23-hectare site into space for international conferences and exhibitions, as well as hotels and restaurants, according to a Japan Today report. Plans for the site are expected to be finalised in March after a consolation with local residents. 

The site will first serve as a transportation hub during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. 

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike had suggested the site could be transformed into a kind of culinary theme park, commemorating the market's colourful history. But she has since backed off from the idea after a backlash from business operators at Toyosu, local media reported.

Tsukiji, the world's biggest fish market and a popular tourist attraction, had made the move in October 2018 to a new location in Toyosu, a former gas plant further east.

Meanwhile, the country's tourism has enjoyed a record year last year, with 27.05 million new, short-term visitors, according visa data released by the Justice Ministry. This growth had contributed to the overall record of 30.1 million visitors in 2018. 

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