National

Shibuya hopes to stop Halloween trouble before it starts

JIJI, Staff Report

Hoping to avoid Halloween-related rowdiness, Shibuya Ward in Tokyo will ban alcohol consumption on streets this coming weekend and on Halloween itself.

Although the ordinance carries no punishment for violations, the ward adopted it in June as part of efforts to keep the area around Shibuya Station calm when Halloween revelers descend on the district.

Crowds around the station have grown increasingly rowdy during recent Halloweens. Last year, a light truck was overturned.

The ordinance prohibits the consumption of alcohol in parks and on streets near the station this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and on Oct. 31 (Halloween) and Nov. 1.

Shibuya Ward will enforce the ban again on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Besides alcohol, the ordinance targets loud music, climbing on street lights and other acts “disturbing the public peace.”

The ward will also place signs on shopping streets warning against troublesome behavior.

Ward officials as well as the Metropolitan Police Department will call for public cooperation during the period covered by the ordinance.

The ward has earmarked around ¥100 million to cover security costs and other expenses.

“The people who gather are mostly from outside the ward,” a Shibuya official said, adding that many foreign tourists travel to Japan to join “Shibuya Halloween.”

The ordinance was initially proposed by local residents who were annoyed by trash and loud noise.

Toshiyuki Ono, director of the promotion cooperative for the Shibuya Center-gai shopping district, said the Halloween revelry has become more prominent “in the past few years.”

“With the number of participants growing year by year, shop people are at the end of their patience,” Ono said.

He stressed that this year is the “last chance to control the turmoil.”

“There are many people who are proud of the streets,” Shibuya Ward Mayor Ken Hasebe said, pointing out that members of the public step forward to help clean up the area the day after Halloween.

“To be honest, it would be better if the ordinance did not exist,” he said. “I want (the ordinance) to make Shibuya Halloween something to be proud of.”