New Tokyo tuna auction

Tokyo's famous fish market reopened Thursday at a new location but retained its most famous tradition: the tuna auction.

The customary clanging of bells opened the auction for raw and frozen tuna, which crammed the huge warehouse wall-to-wall, at the waterfront Toyosu facility. The rhythmical shouts of the auctioneers and the special hand signals by the bidders that followed were unchanged from Tsukiji, the smaller, more accessible home the market recently left after more than eight decades.

The top bid for tuna, a delicacy much like premium-grade beef in Japan, was 4.28 million yen ($38,000), not an unusually high price for quality tuna.

The more than 400 kinds of seafood at the market come from all over Japan, as well as from abroad, including octopus, eel, sea urchin and other items special to Japanese cuisine.

The market serves top restaurants and everyday supermarkets alike. The move was delayed for two years because of worries about contamination, including arsenic, at the Toyosu site. Measures were taken to ensure safety, such as better water pumps and extra concrete sealing.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike attended the opening and expressed hopes for the location's success.

"Of course, things are different here," she said of how the new place may take getting used to.

"We must build the Toyosu brand, day by day, to make it a symbol of Tokyo, and of Japan. I hope to move forward with all of you."

Officials and workers then clapped rhythmically in celebration of Toyosu's opening, the same customary gesture for good luck that had closed Tsukiji on Oct. 6.

Free-of-charge tours for the public start Saturday, including seeing the auction from a huge glass window. Visitors will not be able to go on the auction floor as they could at Tsukiji. Reporters got a tour of the grounds Thursday.



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