Ward cracks down on on-the-street boozing in unanimous vote.

There isn’t exactly a shortage of places to drink in Shibuya. As one of Tokyo’s biggest entertainment and nightlife districts, pretty much every block in the neighborhood has at least one pub, bar, or club.

However, while there are plenty of places you can step inside for a drink, drinking on the street isn’t going to be an option anymore, as a ban on public consumption of alcohol has been passed by the Shibuya Ward Assembly.

The resolution comes after a statement earlier this month that the assembly was considering expanding the smaller-scale public drinking ban that was created back in 2019. That initial ban came in response to the steadily increasing rowdiness of drunken crowds gathering for de facto street parties in Shibuya on and around Halloween night, with violence, vandalism, littering, and other crimes spiking during the unregulated revelry. At first, the public drinking ban was only in place for the Halloween season, but the Shibuya Ward Assembly later added New Year’s Eve to the no-booze-on-the-streets ordinance.

On Monday’s ward assembly session, however, legislators voted unanimously to make the public drinking ban a year-round rule. The enforcement area will also be expanded, and will encompass the vicinity of Shibuya Station and the Shibuya Scramble intersection, the Center-gai shopping street, and the areas around the Shibuya Ward Office, Miyashita Park, and Maruyamacho night club cluster.

Under the current construction of the ordinance, there will be no penalty for those caught violating the ban, aside from, ostensibly, being made to discard their alcoholic beverage. While this might seem to make the rule toothless and pointless, it’s not uncommon for new laws in Japan to initially have no set penalties, in the hope that the existence of a rule, in and of itself, will be enough to convince people to comply.

Oddly enough, the ban will not be in effect 24 hours a day. Instead, public drinking will be prohibited daily between 6 p.m. and 5 a.m. However, this is most likely an attempt to focus police patrol/enforcement efforts on the times when public drinking-related problems have been most likely to occur, and not Shibuya’s way of encouraging everyone to go crazy with on-the-street day drinking.

The ban officially goes into effect on October 1.

Sources: NHK News Web, Yomiuri Shimbun
Top image: Pakutaso
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