Japan: Massive blaze breaks out near Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market

A total of 43 fire engines were deployed to extinguish the fire, Japanese public broadcaster NHK said.

Tokyo: A fire broke out on Thursday just outside Tokyo's famed Tsukiji fish market -- the world's biggest -- with flames and thick grey smoke spewing out of old wooden buildings.

Dozens of firefighters scrambled to battle the blaze at Tsukiji's outer market, which is crowded with small shops and restaurants, but local media said there were no immediate reports of injuries.

The fire broke out at a three-story building around 1:20 pm IST (0750 GMT), burning around 200 square metres (2,150 square feet) of the area, public broadcaster NHK said.

A total of 43 fire engines were deployed to extinguish the fire, NHK said. "I could tell immediately that it's a fire," said Kiyoshi Kimura, the head of the Sushizanmai restaurant chain, who was at his office in the area when the fire broke out.

"So I called managers and had everyone evacuated from our restaurants," Kimura said.

The fire comes after Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said in June that the fish market will be moved to a new location.

Plans to uproot the decades-old market have been in the works for years, with advocates citing the need for upgraded technology as they pointed to Tsukiji's antiquated refrigeration systems.

Koike said last summer that the current site would eventually be redeveloped to capitalise on Tsukiji's globally recognised brand.

( Source : AFP )
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