Halloween Revelers Gathering in Shibuya, Tokyo
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Halloween Revelers Gathering in Shibuya, Tokyo

    NHK World
    Correspondent
    Halloween has apparently gained equal status to Valentine's Day and Christmas among Japanese youngsters. In recent years, the famous scramble crossing in front of Tokyo's Shibuya Station and nearby streets have become a gathering point for partygoers on the night of October 31st.
    Troubles have already happened ahead of the celebration, which is on Wednesday.

    Pre-Halloween Mischief

    A large crowd of people wearing costumes gathered in front of Shibuya Station on Saturday night.

    Many cases of trouble were reported. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department said a mini truck was surrounded and turned over by partygoers at around 1AM. A video of the incident uploaded on Twitter shows the crowd excitedly hollering. Another image showed 2 people standing on the vehicle. Nobody was injured, but police are investigating it as a possible case of property damage.

    Several arguments were also reported in the Shibuya district. And police arrested some people on suspicion of taking photos secretly or molestation.

    A huge amount of garbage could be seen elsewhere in the area at around 4AM on Sunday. Among the rubbish were what appear to be broken glass bottles. It has been reported that alcohol was spilled near store entrances. Some workers were busy cleaning up their store premises before opening time.

    The situation in Halloween 2017

    The scramble crossing in front of Shibuya Station is a famous gathering place for big events such as the World Cup or New Year countdown. Even on normal days, it's not unusual to see crowds of people there partying and drinking all night.

    On Halloween last year, there were more than 16,000 people around Shibuya Station at 11PM, according to the location data of mobile phones. At 2AM, nearly 10,000 people still remained, even after train services had finished for the night. The number was almost twice that of the previous week.

    Unprecedented request for partygoers

    Tokyo's Shibuya Ward is asking people not to disturb others when celebrating Halloween.

    The ward decided to make the appeal because residents have complained about noise late into the night and the huge amount of garbage left by the revelers.

    Officials will use social media to remind people wearing costumes to avoid gathering in the area in the days before Halloween and to go home while the trains are still running. They have also asked shops near Shibuya Station to refrain from selling alcoholic drinks in bottles.

    The mayor of Shibuya Ward says he's very grateful that many people are visiting Shibuya, but the behavior of some of them during Halloween has reached a level that cannot be overlooked. He adds that partygoers shouldn't forget their manners.

    Major Japanese discount chain Don Quijote and convenience store operator Lawson made a decision in response to a request from Shibuya Ward.

    A Don Quijote outlet near Shibuya Station will stop selling alcoholic beverages in glass bottles on Wednesday through 6AM on Thursday. Lawson will do the same at its 6 shops near the station from 6PM on Wednesday until 6AM on Thursday.

    What will happen this Halloween?

    On Sunday, a makeshift garbage collection site was set up in a park near Shibuya Station. Volunteers were busy picking up garbage left on the street.

    Children dressed up in costumes could be seen with their parents. A local said it will be very difficult to take small children out on the actual day. Another said she will avoid going with her child to Shibuya at nighttime because the Twitter posts have made her feel uneasy.

    Police officers have been deployed in the busy district well ahead of Halloween to be prepared when the celebrations peak on Wednesday.