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Tokyo's Shibuya ward governor calls for restraint in gathering downtown for Halloween

Shibuya Ward Mayor Ken Hasebe, holding a poster that reads "No Nuisance," calls on people to refrain from visiting the area around Shibuya Station on Halloween, at the Shibuya Ward Office in Tokyo on Oct. 21, 2021. (Mainichi/Kazuo Yanagisawa)

TOKYO -- In response to the expected increase in Halloween crowds at the end of October, Tokyo's Shibuya Ward announced measures on Oct. 21, including tightened security and a request for some stores to refrain from selling alcohol.

    Halloween will be celebrated on Oct. 31, after the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's planned lifting of all requests on Oct. 25 to shorten business hours and restrict the serving of alcohol at restaurants and bars that have been certified as having taken thorough countermeasures against the coronavirus. Despite these easing of restrictions, the ward government is urging people to refrain from gathering in Shibuya for Halloween.

    According to the ward government, apart from Metropolitan Police Department security personnel, ward employees will patrol the downtown area around Shibuya Station in teams of three to caution against street drinking, and about 100 security guards will be assigned to the area.

    In addition, they have requested 42 shops, including convenience stores, mass merchandisers and private stores, to refrain from selling alcohol on both Oct. 30 and Oct. 31 from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next morning.

    Last year, the ward office held online events as part of "Virtual Shibuya" for people to enjoy Halloween at home. The event will be held again this year with enhanced content.

    In 2020, due to the spread of the coronavirus, the turnout in the area was down and there were no major disruptions. This year, however, the number of people infected with the coronavirus in the capital has decreased, and the timing of the event will be right after the lifting of restrictions on the serving of alcohol at restaurants and bars. As Halloween also falls on a Sunday, the turnout is likely to increase.

    Shibuya Ward Mayor Ken Hasebe said, "I would like to ask for your cooperation to keep the city safe and secure by observing morals and manners. I also hope that people will have fun through Virtual Shibuya and the like."

    (Japanese original by Kazuo Yanagisawa, Tokyo Bureau)

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