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Shibuya to ban drinking near ‘Scramble Crossing’ on Halloween

TOKYO (TR) – Following a number of arrests for disorderly conduct during Halloween celebrations last year, officials with Shibuya Ward are seeking to ban the drinking of alcohol on some streets for festivities held in the future, it was learned on Monday, reports the Sankei Shimbun (May 13).

The restriction will be in place for outdoor areas near JR Shibuya Station, including the famous “Scramble Crossing” and the Shibuya Center-gai shopping street, from the Friday before Halloween until November 1.

The ban will also be applied for New Year’s Eve, according to ward officials.

Over roughly the past decade, hundreds of thousands of young persons in costume have gathered annually around Halloween near the Scramble Crossing.

However, last year’s celebrations were notable for the large number of incidents that took place.

Hundreds of thousands of persons in costume gather near the Scramble Crossing on Halloween each year (Twitter)

Groping and assault

From the night of October 31 until the morning of November 1, police arrested 13 persons for a variety of crimes, including groping and assault.

Police later said that an American rugby player arrested over the alleged assault a woman was drunk at the time of the incident.

In a much publicized incident, a dozen or so members of a mob overturned and jumped upon a light truck near the Scramble Crossing early on October 28. Police later arrested four persons on suspicion of causing property damage.

As well, ward officials said that they received a number of complaints related to disturbances caused by revelers who had been drinking.

Restriction on alcohol sales

As a preventative measure, convenience stores and other shops were requested to voluntarily refrain from selling chilled alcohol in bottles last year.

A panel that formed following the incidents said that it is examining the possibility of to expanding the restriction to include bottles and cans sold at all temperatures.

The panel is planning to submit an interim report on Wednesday. A draft of an ordinance is being formulated for submission to the ward assembly in June with the goal of the measure going into effect this year.