As Halloween approaches, the Japanese government advises citizens to avoid Shibuya District’s bustling streets, where costumed parties are held.
After 150 people died in an Itaewon, South Korea, Halloween stampede, this warning came. This has raised concerns. Shibuya District Warden Mayor Ken Hasabe fears a similar incident in Japan. Foreign tourists are returning following the pandemic, and Shibuya is a popular Halloween destination for teens.
“This year, we want to make it clear to the world that Shibuya is not the place to celebrate Halloween,” Hasabe stated during a press conference on Thursday (5/10).
“People shouldn’t party around October 31, and drinking alcohol near the station will be illegal for a few days,” he warned.
Hasabe also ordered Shibuya and nearby shops to sell less alcohol.
Shibuya has hosted Halloween festivities for a decade
Over the past decade, Shibuya, a Tokyo neighbourhood noted for fashion and youth, has become Japan’s most popular Halloween destination. Its bustling streets, especially the iconic public crossing, are where kids throw crazy Halloween parties.
This year, crowds and stampedes are a major concern. Japan hasn’t party since COVID-19 restrictions were relaxed. First Halloween since then. The administration is also pondering what more tourists to Japan means.
The Japan National Tourism Organisation reported 2.2 million foreign tourists in August. This number is approaching pre-pandemic levels.
Hasabe concerned that if safeguards were not taken, 50,000 to 60,000 people could gather.
“If nothing is done, there will be many more people than last year. We fear this will increase traffic accidents and other issues “Hasabe remarked.
Success is Uncertain
Hasabe has 300 Halloween security officers since younger people and foreign guests may not take the warning seriously. About 150 police officers will patrol the streets to prevent drinking and smoking.
Hasabe agreed that street drinking and smoking aren’t illegal, thus you can’t jail someone for it. Still, they can be arrested for public safety violations like starting fights.
Since 2015, Jamaican immigrant Kerona Slater has lived in Japan. She’s one of the few who defies the authorities. Slater and her friends will enjoy Halloween in Shibuya. They’ve chosen their clothing.
Slater said, “I think a lot of us will be a little more careful, but I think a lot of us will still go.” “Young people will go mostly. She stated many outsiders will go since we’re not as quiet or obedient as the Japanese.
Hasabe didn’t hide the fact that these preventive measures are still 50/50. Still, he thinks the early warnings would deter foreigners from visiting Shibuya on Halloween.