Ken Hasebe, the mayor of Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward, has made his stance clear: “I don’t want people to come to Shibuya if they’re only coming for Halloween,” he declared at a press conference held at the ward office on September 12th. This strong statement aims to ensure the safety of the ward’s streets during the Halloween nights from October 27th to 31st, as these days have witnessed an increasing influx of intoxicated revelers in recent years.
Issues such as public drinking, property damage, and littering have become a serious concern not only during the Halloween season but also throughout the rest of the year. Many consider the streets of this self-governed district a haven for youth, primarily due to its vibrant nightlife. In response to residents’ complaints, the Shibuya Ward launched patrolslast September to curb public alcohol consumption and is contemplating year-round restrictions on such behavior.
Hasebe’s ultimate objective is to transform the youthful and bustling Shibuya into a sophisticated neighborhood, a global icon comparable to cities like New York or Paris. Since assuming the mayoral position in 2016, Hasebe has worked towards redefining the ward’s image. The construction of Shibuya Parco and Shibuya Scramble Square, two shopping complexes, aims to cater not only to the younger demographic but also to middle-aged and older adults. Diversity is a central theme in Hasebe’s agenda, dating back to 2012 when he introduced a statute recognizing cohabiting same-sex couples as being in a relationship equivalent to marriage, later approved by the Shibuya ward in 2015.
The ward’s development also involves the support and promotion of innovation-driven startups. Through initiatives such as shared offices and a specialized “startup” visa, the local government seeks to attract both Japanese and foreign entrepreneurs to converge in Shibuya and achieve success on the global stage.
Although the prohibition of Halloween celebrations might initially cause some discontent, it is a crucial initial stride toward fostering a prosperous long-term future for Shibuya’s development.