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Tokyo district launches ‘don’t visit’ campaign this Halloween

Banning public drinking, hiring 300 private security guards and urging local stores to stop selling alcohol are just some of the methods Tokyo’s Shibuya district is employing to deter revelers this Halloween.

Tokyo district launches 'don't visit' campaign this Halloween
Tokyo, Japan – October 31, 2018: A man wearing a horse head mask and striped jail costume moves within the packed crowd at the Shibuya Crossing during Tokyo’s famous Shibuya district all-night Halloween celebration.

“Please do not come to the Shibuya station area for Halloween,” warned Ken Hasebe, the mayor of one of the most well-known and bustling wards in Tokyo.

“This year we’re making it clear to the world that Shibuya is not a venue for Halloween events,” he told reporters this month at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, according to CBS News.

Officials are urging the Tokyo district’s 35 local stores to stop selling alcohol in the run-up to Halloween, and public drinking in the area will be banned.

The ward has also hired 300 private security guards and tasked 150 city officials to patrol the area and enforce the no-smoking and no-drinking ordinance, in addition to scores of police.

Tokyo’s Shibuya district is famous for its all-night Halloween revelry, but Hasebe is concerned that celebrations will risk public safety.

Pre-pandemic Halloween crowds peaked at about 40,000 in 2019, but the authorities estimate as many as 60,000 people will show up this month, Hasebe said. The vast majority, which he estimates at around 70%, will be non-Japanese.

“The situation is much more serious than just over-tourism,” he said. “We’re talking about massive dumping of trash, arrests for molestation, voyeurism, property destruction.”

Shibuya initially welcomed revelers, with temporary toilets and changing rooms available to use. However, as crowds have escalated throughout the years, leading to more rowdiness, the district has changed its tact, launching its ‘don’t visit’ campaign in time for this year’s festivities.

Live cameras streaming the action at the central Scramble crossing and the adjacent shopping and bar district, Center Gai have been set up to allow people to view the action at a distance.

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