Truck-tipping vandalism a major part of tipping-point decision in ordinarily pro-alcohol Japan.

Halloween is all about dressing up and turning into something different for a night, but Tokyo wasn’t happy with the transformation that took place in the city’s Shibuya neighborhood last October. Drunken partiers committed several acts of vandalism, with the most notorious incident occurring when a group of revelers tipped over a truck.

The situation in Shibuya has been getting progressively worse year after year, to the point where one foreigner who was involved in tipping the truck went so far as to say “I’d heard that Halloween in Japan is crazy, and that every year people do things like this. I thought I wouldn’t get hauled in even if I got drunk and went crazy in Shibuya.” That’s obviously not the sort of image Tokyo wants to cultivate, and on Tuesday the Shibuya Ward Council passed a measure, by majority vote, to ban the consumption of alcohol in public places around Shibuya Station at Halloween.

▼ Last year’s Shibuya Halloween celebration

Specifically, the ban will be in place on October 31 and November 1 (so as to include post-midnight pre-sun-up boozing), as well as the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday preceding October 31, when the largest crowds gather. The exact boundaries of the no-drinking zone are yet to be set, but will no doubt encompass Shibuya Station, the Hachiko Plaza, Shibuya Scramble intersection, and streets, parks, and other public spaces in and around the Center Gai shopping street and Shibuya 109 shopping center. Currently, no penalty has been set for violators, though it would seem that at the very least you can expect officers to confiscate any suds you’re trying to sneak a sip of.

“I want to fulfil my concurrent duties of protecting the peace and safety of the neighborhood and promoting its bustling energy,” said Shibuya Ward Head Ken Hasebe, whose words convey that he’s unhappy with the balance of last year’s Shibuya Halloween celebrations, which resulted in more than 20 arrests.

The council’s resolution will also allow it to ban the consumption of alcohol in public spaces on other days it feels the measure is appropriate, such as New Year’s Eve and on the date of major sporting events (in recent years, Shibuya has become Tokyo’s primary street celebration venue following Japanese victories in soccer, the Olympics, or other international contests). In addition, the council is asking area convenience stores and other retailers to voluntarily refrain from selling alcoholic beverages on the days on which public drinking is prohibited.

All of this isn’t to say that Shibuya’s partiers will all be sober on the designated dry days, however. The neighborhood boasts one of Tokyo’s highest concentrations of bars, pubs, and other alcohol providers, and they’ll be allowed to keep pouring whatever they like even when the public drinking ban is in place.

Sources: Livedoor News/Nitele News24 via Anime News Network/Lynzee Loveridge, Yomiuri Shimbun, The Sankei News
Photos ©SoraNews24
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