Tokyo’s Shibuya District Mayor Urges Halloween Revelers to Refrain from Visiting

by Joshua Brown
Airport Protests

The chief municipal official of Tokyo’s bustling Shibuya district has issued a plea for people to avoid coming to the area for Halloween festivities. The request stems from concerns that a large influx of celebrants in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic could result in a calamity akin to last year’s deadly stampede in Seoul, South Korea.

“In no uncertain terms, we are declaring that Shibuya is not the designated location for Halloween activities this year,” announced Mayor Ken Hasebe during a press briefing on Thursday. “I strongly urge everyone to refrain from gathering around the Shibuya station for Halloween purposes.”

While acknowledging the global popularity of Halloween as a joyful occasion, Mayor Hasebe warned that a catastrophic event like the one that led to approximately 160 fatalities in Seoul’s Itaewon district last year could very well occur in Shibuya. “An incident as tragic as the one in Itaewon is a looming possibility here,” he cautioned.

The area around Shibuya’s train station, commonly known as the “scramble crossing” due to the high volume of foot traffic, has become an increasingly sought-after location for Halloween enthusiasts—both local residents and tourists alike. Although attendance dwindled during the pandemic, last year saw the streets of Shibuya filled once again during the holiday. Mayor Hasebe expressed a heightened sense of urgency, fearing that this year’s crowd size could surpass even last year’s numbers. “We are deeply concerned that we may not be able to guarantee the safety and well-being of both residents and visitors,” he stated.

In a proactive measure to control crowds and maintain public safety, the city of Shibuya is significantly increasing the presence of security personnel and administrative officials. These officials will be deployed to enforce a municipal ordinance prohibiting the consumption of alcohol in the vicinity of the train station, effective from October 27 to October 31. Additionally, vehicular traffic will be subject to restrictions during nighttime and early morning hours for that duration, according to the city of Shibuya.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Shibuya District Halloween Warning

What is the primary message from Shibuya District’s Mayor Ken Hasebe?

The primary message from Mayor Ken Hasebe is a plea for people to avoid coming to Shibuya District in Tokyo for Halloween festivities. The mayor is concerned that a large gathering could result in a situation similar to last year’s tragic crowd-related incident in Seoul, South Korea.

Why has the mayor issued this warning?

The mayor has issued this warning due to concerns about public safety. He fears that the large crowds typically drawn to the Shibuya District for Halloween could result in a dangerous situation, especially considering the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and last year’s fatal event in Seoul.

What measures are being put in place to ensure public safety?

Shibuya is significantly increasing the number of security guards and officials around the train station and is enforcing a municipal ordinance prohibiting the consumption of alcohol in the vicinity from October 27 to October 31. Additionally, there will be vehicular traffic restrictions during nighttime and early morning hours.

Was Shibuya District crowded during last year’s Halloween despite the pandemic?

Yes, according to Mayor Hasebe, the streets of Shibuya were filled during last year’s Halloween, even though attendance had decreased during the earlier periods of the pandemic. The mayor fears that this year’s turnout could be even larger, heightening safety concerns.

What happened in Seoul’s Itaewon district that the mayor referred to?

Mayor Hasebe referred to a tragic crowd-related incident in Seoul’s Itaewon district that occurred last year during Halloween. Approximately 160 people lost their lives in a crowd stampede, and the mayor fears that a similar event could happen in Shibuya if preventive measures are not taken.

What is the “scramble crossing” and why is it significant?

The “scramble crossing” refers to the area around Shibuya’s train station, notable for its high volume of pedestrian traffic. It has become an increasingly popular destination for Halloween enthusiasts, both residents and tourists, thereby making it a focus of concern for potential crowd-related issues.

More about Shibuya District Halloween Warning

  • Shibuya District Official Website
  • Tokyo Municipal Government COVID-19 Updates
  • Seoul’s Itaewon District Crowd Surge Incident Report
  • Japan National Police Agency: Public Safety Guidelines
  • World Health Organization: COVID-19 Public Safety Measures

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CryptoGuy October 5, 2023 - 12:02 pm

So they’re beefing up security and even putting alcohol bans? Shibuya’s taking this super seriously.

TravelLover October 5, 2023 - 3:14 pm

I was planning on visiting Shibuya this Halloween, but guess that’s off the table. Thank you Mayor Hasebe for putting safety first.

PolicyNerd October 5, 2023 - 3:35 pm

Good to see preventive measures being taken. If you ask me, more cities should follow Shibuya’s example. A tragedy like Seoul’s should never happen again.

JohnDoe October 5, 2023 - 9:06 pm

Wow, never thought I’d see the day where Shibuya’s asking people to stay away on Halloween. Crazy times we’re living in, huh?

SamanthaQ October 6, 2023 - 8:07 am

it’s sad but safety first, right? Better to miss one Halloween than risk something like what happened in Seoul.


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