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Firefighters battle blaze at Tokyo's famed Tsukiji market

Posted August 3

— Dozens of firefighters battled a fire Thursday at Tokyo's world-famous Tsukiji fish market, an area packed with tiny seafood vendors, sushi restaurants and tourists.

Efforts to bring the fire under control continued late in the evening.

Clouds of gray smoke and orange flames rose from a row of wooden stores in an area called "the outer market." The street outside was filled with fire engines. Pedestrians walked briskly by, covering their noses and mouths with towels.

The Tokyo Fire Department said no one was injured or trapped because the fire broke out after the shops closed.

Tsukiji market is popular among tourists. Its inner market, where tuna auctions are held and seafood traders vie to buy raw ingredients for Japan's finest sushi and other dishes, was not affected.

"First there was only smoke, then it kept getting worse," Kiyoshi Kimura, president of the popular sushi restaurant Sushizanmai, told TV Asahi.

Tsukiji market is at the center of a dispute over its relocation. The Tokyo city government's plan to move the fish market to another site has been delayed because of the contamination of underground water at the new complex in Toyosu.

In June, Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike announced a plan to go ahead with the inner market's move to Toyosu, while turning Tsukiji into a food theme park. The outer market will stay.

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