Shibuya Ward Mayor Ken Hasebe holds signs asking people to follow rules for good behavior during Halloween. Photo: Shibuya Ward website
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Shibuya Ward to ban drinking in public spaces during Halloween period

55 Comments

Shibuya Ward in Tokyo will prohibit drinking of alcohol in public spaces such as streets, sidewalks and in parks between 6 p.m. and 5 a.m. during the Halloween period from Oct 28-Nov 1.

The restrictions will apply to the iconic scramble crossing, Center-gai, Dogenzaka and Miyashita Park. Convenience stores will be asked to voluntarily refrain from selling alcohol.

However, unlike the last two years, revelers are not being asked to stay away as a countermeasure against the coronavirus. Shibuya Mayor Ken Hasebe said he hopes people will celebrate Halloween in an orderly manner.

Besides police, the ward will have 100 security officers on patrol on Oct 29-31.

Digital signs and posters in Japanese and English have already been put up inside Shibuya Station and outside, asking people not to engage in rowdy behavior.

Prior to the coronavirus, the Shibuya scramble crossing attracted tens of thousands of people in costumes at Halloween, turning the night into a giant cosplay event. But it created problems for traffic as well as nearby businesses whose entrances were blocked. There was also a lot of trash, such as bottles and cans, that had to be cleaned up on Nov 1.

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Even Mayor Hasebe looks surprised!

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Wow look at his face, he really put a lot of work, meetings, and thought into this no fun Halloween rule.

What a joke.

0 ( +13 / -13 )

The government treats people like children.

3 ( +20 / -17 )

First the Government wants people to drink, to have babies, now you can't drink, the nanny state continues...

1 ( +18 / -17 )

Can still drink in bars

9 ( +11 / -2 )

But it created problems for traffic: Have police control the traffic?

as well as nearby businesses whose entrances were blocked: seems kind of trivial, I'm sure businesses benefit from having people actual come into the area.

There was also a lot of trash, such as bottles and cans, that had to be cleaned up: Ever heard of bins in public places.

-6 ( +9 / -15 )

But it created problems for traffic as well as nearby businesses whose entrances were blocked

Any different from the other events, festivals, overflowing lines that occur?

Would these businesses have had significant foot traffic during those times while other businesses enjoyed the increased business?

It seems the LDP and Japan Inc. just hate the spontaneous, unplanned and imperfectly monetized quality of Halloween.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

First step to ban people drinking in public places, the other wards will follow the suit and soon it will spread all over the country.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

"There was also a lot of trash, such as bottles and cans, that had to be cleaned up on Nov 1."

Hang on! I thought Japanese people always picked up their trash (and other peoples', even!) and in fact made it a priority to appear on news shows doing so. And also, if they are going to ban alcohol, just do it permanently. There are so many oyaji who get drunk and puke all over the place here and other stations, etc., ESPECIALLY during enkai season. Will they ban it then, too? And what if they catch some salarymen drinking while walking home from a bar, already drunk out of their skulls but having bought more at convenience stores... they going to bust them?

-7 ( +8 / -15 )

That's going to be difficult to police in reality.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Japan: Young people, we want you to meet, hookup and have kids.

Young People: Can we have a harmless party in Tokyo once a year?

Japan: Absolutely not! We will not assist at all, you should drink more and have babies instead

??

-10 ( +6 / -16 )

At least, they prohibited drinking not because they are thinking the corona virus will spread because people are drinking alcohol.

They prohibited drinking to prevent rowdy behavior from over drunken people.

At least that makes a little bit sense.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

@jexan

The government treats people like children.

well when people drink heavily they actually turn into children!

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Party poopers…

Why not close it off some areas to traffic, put in bins for recycling, have stalls selling something that helps cover costs for bins, portable toilets etc? Why not… because the party poppers rule!

2 ( +8 / -6 )

However, unlike the last two years, revelers are not being asked to stay away as a countermeasure against the coronavirus. Shibuya Mayor Ken Hasebe said he hopes people will celebrate Halloween in an orderly manner..

Well that's the real intention isn't it. God forbid if people have fun as they like one day in a year.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

"There was also a lot of trash, such as bottles and cans, that had to be cleaned up on Nov 1."

When was the last time you saw a streetside bin?

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Spoil sports!

It’s not as if they didn’t know Halloween was going to happen, they could have planned for it like cities in the rest of the world, closed off the junction, re-routed traffic and given lots of notice and warning so drivers know to avoid it.

The complaint about blocking access is spurious, businesses benefit from increased footfall, over all there would be an appreciable economic gain.

Provide bins, light touch policing and have people on hand to assist anyone taken I’ll.

Its not exactly rocket science, it’s done in cities across the world, surely the fabled Japanese efficiency could cope?

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

To be fair I was on the fence on this one, leaning toward the young people. But then saw some videos put up by ladies who attended in previous years who were basically molested in the streets during the festivities. So I am gonna side with with the Ward on this one.

Overseas public drinking not encouraged or banned in many places. Unfortunately Japan will probably go the same way.... Times are a changin'.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Last time they decided to treat the public as children and "advised" convenience stores to stop serving alcohol, it wasn't too difficult to find ones that ignored the advice. The "security guards" have no authority so when they tell you to not drink just say "OK. Thank you" and keep walking. Adults are quite capable of having an adult beverage without committing crimes....

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

I find this ban to be the mature and forward thinking thing to do .!. The sensible majority won’t be out catching or spreading Covid .!.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

booooooooooo

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Alan BogglesworthToday  06:17 pm JST

Japan: Young people, we want you to meet, hookup and have kids.

Young People: Can we have a harmless party in Tokyo once a year?

Japan: Absolutely not! We will not assist at all, you should drink more and have babies instead

??

The only way that people can have kids is if they hook up with strangers at alcohol-fueled street romps?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Besides police, the ward will have 100 security officers on patrol on Oct 29-31.

this sounds like the Abe funeral. Will this event also cost ¥1.6 billion?

100 security officers for a 100,000 people in one gigantic intersection. (Or whatever the number may be.)

what could go wrong?

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Someone forgot to tell Ken Hasebe to hold his little poster, straight. Looks crooked.

they also should’ve given him some sunglasses and a goatee. Make sure the audience knows he means business.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Hakman,

The only way that people can have kids is if they hook up with strangers at alcohol-fueled street romps?

It's actually a pretty good way for younger people to meet each other yes, it's a social event and people go with friends, meet other friends and godforbid, exchange telephone numbers and......go on dates!

When there is an event, which tens of thousands of young people seem to really, really enjoy, which is fun (I've been) and could even become a pretty big tourist attraction, like the Sydney fireworks on NYE. What does Tokyo do? Shut it down because of silly non-issues, like some Oba-sans shop door being blocked.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

I'm all for cosplay just like everyone is - but why the need to party in the middle of the busiest pedestrian crossing on earth?

Party and celebrate Halloween in the bars, clubs, pubs and izakayas over 10-15 beers on the night. Preferably a pub crawl of at least 5 bars. There'll be music, food and the party will be safer than in the middle of traffic.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

There are festivals all over Japan where people drink on the street and traffic is blocked. That's why they're called festivals. Not that Halloween is an ancient Japanese tradition, but if it's something that thousands of people want to participate in and enjoy, perhaps it can be planned for and accommodated instead of being fought against.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

...I'll add that it's only a "street romp" because like a lot of things in Japan, authorities don't like it, but rather than accept it's something people want to do and are likely going to do, and properly prepare for it and support it.

Tokyo is completely underprepared and just send a thousand cops in to hold hands so people can't cross onto the road.

Why not just call it "Haloween" matsuri and let people enjoy it, make some money off it?

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

@shogun36,

exactly

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

I hate most people between 18 and 25 and no power on earth would make me go there, that said, what's the problem with letting them have fun? Also, is it just an onegai or an actual crime? If it's the former, good luck enforcing that thing, I would tell them to leave me alone.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I've always found fascinating how much the Shibuya ward doesn't seem to have an idea of what to do to avoid chaos when people do what people do.

It's hilarious how they seem to prefer to block the way to everyone to avoid "chaos"... basically creating chaos to avoid it, instead of just understanding this is going to happen, and try to take control by investing that same money and effort in having a more controlled celebration without just banning things.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

So many people complaining about the government trying to maintain safety.

First the Government wants people to drink, to have babies, now you can't drink, the nanny state continues...

Most U.S, states prohibit drinking outside, period. Japan is relatively lenient in this respect.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

When will Japan ever realize that Halloween is only 24 hours long and on October 31 only !

It's not a costume party that lasts 4 days ! ! !

The guy in the photo doesn't need a costume as he's obviously scary enough already.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

the medieval police and secret agents will be patrolling with katanas and specially trained alcohol sniffing shiba inus

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Most states U.S. states prohibit drinking outside,period !

That's not true !

During the 4th of july most states allow drinking in public places or on the streets .

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

That’s too easy to not to follow. I’m too old and also not interested in that event, but if I were one of those Halloween party junkies I knew how to do it. I would simply go on that parade with my beer cans on the 27th or 2nd. It they think they are Einsteins and extend prohibiting I would answer accordingly by logic and simply extend the time frame.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

What's the History behind Halloween in Shibuya ?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Shibuya Mayor Ken Hasebe said he hopes people will celebrate Halloween in an orderly manner.

Yeah, good luck with that. Isn't drunken revelry part and parcel of Halloween in Shibuya? If the Mayor wants Halloween "celebrated in an orderly manner", perhaps they should join the kiddies in kindergarten to make some ghost and pumpkin arts and crafts. People are just going to bypass this "request" and probably go celebrate earlier.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Ultimately Halloween should be more about the costumes and less about drinking... especially drinking heavily and causing a nuisance. If people in the past had maintained decent orderly conduct this probably would not be needed. We all know or have at least seen these idiots... they get drunk and do amazingly stupid crap and ruin things for everyone else. It just proves that Japan is no different from anywhere else... just maybe that they have less tolerance for the disorderly.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

One man's chunder is another pigeon's breakfast. That's the Shibuyan cycle of life.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Excellent !!.. But it should be the whole year, a lot of immature teenage kids in Shibuya getting drunk on the street..

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Fun police at it again. The reason why there are so many bottles and cans to clean up is because there are no recycle bins in the entire city.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

The Japanese government wants to promote drinking among young people because of declining numbers, but bans drinking in public areas during Halloween. The irony. Haha.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Go to Shibuya and find a cheap izakaya and get drunk as a fish-that’s ok then…

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

How lucky we are to live in a country that bans public drinking in one place for only a couple of days in the interests of safety.

There are certain religiously-inspired regimes than ban it completely….

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Many under '30s don't even drink these days.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Steven MccarthyOct. 22  08:28 pm JST

I find this ban to be the mature and forward thinking thing to do .!. The sensible majority won’t be out catching or spreading Covid .!.

Excellent point.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The ban has nothing to do with covid.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

wallaceToday  11:44 am JST

The ban has nothing to do with covid.

Why repeat a concept written in the article?

, revelers are not being asked to stay away as a countermeasure against the coronavirus.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

wallaceToday  11:53 am JST

The original point is, sensible people won't be out during that time anyway, regardless of whether or not there is a ban because of Covid.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

For Japanese it's just a costume party as its clear they dont even understand the meaning of Halloween or trick or treat !

I saw a poster advertisement that said- 'trash or treat'

It's amusing to see Japanese culture try to adopt western culture .

FYI it's not really Halloween in Japan .

They just don't get it !

Enjoy the costumes though .

I wonder how many zombie Abe costumes or joker costumes will be out ?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Amazing. So this is how the government of Tokyo thanks its young people for almost three years of cooperation during Coronavirus: by cancelling the Sumida River summer hanabi event again, telling people not to drink in public on Halloween, and cancelling the NYE countdown. At this point, I think it would be fun to watch if Japan's youth started engaging in mass tax resistance; but there is too much societal obedience here.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

I don’t understand. Japan cannot constitutionally make people stay home during COVID lockdown, so how can they ban alcohol? It is a travesty of individual freedom and choice.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Elsewhere in Tokyo you do have restaurants, with street seating - Ginza / Shinbashi being an example.

I guess, they too may be impacted by this declaration.

It used to be directed against Foreigners - particularly the Military types who'd turn up in Roppongi - which used to be a "fun" place, but nowadays has been turned into a boring area of boredom.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Now as for Japanese beers - there's only really two - Asahi Super-Dry, and Yebisu - the rest all share the same taste - which is why they don't hit the export markets. Japan Brewing Laws are too restrictive, and that curtails creativity to the point that Japanese Beers are generally all the same... (the exception being the too afore-mentioned).

Now-a-days, cheaper, higher Alcohol content drinks are popular, though more dangerous, and it quickens the loss of an individuals self-control.

Make beers an enjoyable experience, then the associated crime rates may drop, and such seasonal evens, may once again become enjoyable.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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