Photo/IllutrationYoung people in costumes mill about at the popular Shibuya Center-gai street ahead of Halloween on Oct. 26. (Ryo Ikeda)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

Police and Shibuya Ward office staff kept a close watch on Oct. 26-27 for violators breaking a drinking ban on the street imposed to prevent Halloween revelers from running amok and destroying property.

The ban and a heavy security presence seemed to do the trick in discouraging any repeat of last year's Oct. 31 carnage, in which a group of men overturned a small truck in the Shibuya Center-gai entertainment district and more than 20 people were arrested in various incidents.

The ordinance, which targets the iconic scramble crossing by Shibuya Station and streets around Shibuya Center-gai, among other places, banned drinking from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Oct. 25-27.

It will also be in effect for Oct. 31. The ward asked 41 restaurants in the area not to sell alcohol during the period and most agreed, it said.

A 25-year-old Singaporean woman who visited Shibuya Center-gai late in the evening of Oct. 26 said streets and partygoers were quieter than last year and the years before in the lead-up to Halloween.

A clean-up volunteer said streets also seemed cleaner than last year, when revelers were criticized for leaving piles of trash in their wake.

“The volume of garbage is about half that of last year. I saw less drunken people. I think the ordinance was effective,” said the man, who was picking up trash in the area early on Oct. 27.

Following incidents last year on Oct. 31 and the weekend before it, Shibuya Ward created an ordinance to prohibit people from drinking alcohol on the streets and in parks and making excessive noise around Shibuya Station. However, there is no punishment stipulated for violations.

The ordinance took effect in June. Shibuya Ward also plans to impose it during this year's end-of-the-year and New Year holidays.

On Oct. 26-27, along with officers from Tokyo's Metropolitan Police Department, the ward office dispatched employees and more than 100 private security guards to the streets in the area to ensure the ordinance was followed.

According to the ward office, staff on patrol in Shibuya responded to 20 cases and cautioned 38 people from the night of Oct. 25 to the early morning of Oct. 27 but observed no major problems.

The ward office is considering increasing the number of security guards on streets near Shibuya Station to as many as 140 for Oct. 31, when the largest crowds usually gather to celebrate Halloween.

(This article was written by Erina Ito, Yohei Kobayakawa and Nobuo Fujiwara.)