Generating ¥1.7 billion in sales daily, Tsukiji is undoubtedly big business, but during recent years the market’s volume of trade has been dropping (down some seventy thousand tonnes between 2002 and 2007), along with the number of wholesalers and middlemen who work there.
Uppermost on merchants’ minds is Tokyo government’s plan to shift the market to Toyosu, 2km across the bay. The site was previously used by Tokyo Gas, and the highly toxic ground must be thoroughly cleaned up before any construction starts on the new complex where tourists are likely to be kept at arm’s length from the action, restricted to walkways overlooking the wholesale fish section. This will help solve the problems caused in recent years by increasingly large groups of tourists disrupting the key tuna auctions. On a couple of occasions the authorities have had to put a temporary ban on visitor attendance at the auctions.