Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Rat Tsunami

  The Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo's Chuo Ward (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Ward gears up to battle fleeing 'ninja' rats before Tsukiji market relocates

The Asahi Shimbun  February 09, 2016 By YUKA NISHIMOTO/ Staff Writer

An army of ravenous rats is set to swarm out from Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market in search of food and run riot in the heart of the capital when the trading center relocates to a new site in November.

In a multimillion yen fight against the expected invasion, the local ward authority will soon be patching holes and placing rat poison across the giant fish market complex and the surrounding areas.

“Brown rats, which prefer to live near water, are known to travel along waterways,” said an official with the environmental health section of the Chuo Ward government. “Black rats, which are sometimes referred to as ‘ninja,’ are smaller than brown rats and can appear out of nowhere.”

About 83,000 glue traps will be distributed to residents, restaurants and offices in the area, or 10 sheets per household or establishment.

The operation will mainly target the brown rats and their "ninja" bretheren, which are both known to carry disease and also threaten electrical wiring and gas piping.

With the fish market set to relocate to the Toyosu district 3 kilometers to the south, the mass extermination project was included in the ward’s draft budget for fiscal 2016 at a cost of about 22 million yen ($192,000).

The ward government plans to dump rat poison down manholes leading to sewers as well as into their nests and set traps in roadside hedges in May and August. The sticky pads will be distributed from September.

“The rats may take note of changes in their surroundings and begin making their move once the relocation starts taking place,” the official said. “We need to take measures beforehand to avoid any serious damages.”

The ward government is asking residents in the neighborhood to cooperate by not leaving food out, or clothing that the rodents can use for nests, as well as filling in holes in cupboards and closets.

Rats at work by Hokusai

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