Crowd control aims to keep Shibuya Halloween revelers safe

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Shibuya Center-gai street is crowded with Halloween revelers on Sunday night in Tokyo.

A strong police presence was apparent Sunday night in Shibuya amid costumed revelers and spectators hanging out in the Tokyo district the night before Halloween.

So-called DJ police officers who bark witty instructions to control the crowds stood on vehicles with microphones in hand.

“Please proceed slowly without pushing people in front,” one of them said.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A police officer makes announcements to the crowd outside Shibuya Station in Tokyo on Sunday night.

Uniformed police officers were stationed in areas near the famed intersection in front of Shibuya Station and patrolled streets such as Shibuya Center-gai.

When a costumed couple stopped to take photos in the middle of the street, disrupting the flow of people, police officers rushed toward them.

“Please don’t stop walking, or you may create an accident,” one police officer said.

In the wake of Satuday’s tragedy in Seoul where a crushing crowd surge of Halloween revelers caused over 150 deaths, the Tokyo police took extra precautions to avoid crowding in narrow alleys and on slopes.

The Shibuya area is expected to be more crowded on Halloween night Monday. The Metropolitan Police Department is considering opening roadways to ease congestion on sidewalks if there is a risk of overcrowding.

“The more people gather, the greater the risk of accidents,” an MPD official said. “We ask for the public’s cooperation to avoid overcrowding.”

In Osaka’s Minami district, there were many costumed young people seen on Sunday as well. The Osaka prefectural police has deployed up to 200 officers to control crowds between Saturday and Monday. The police were restricting vehicular traffic and guiding pedestrians away from crowds on Sunday.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The intersection in front of Shibuya Station in Tokyo is controlled by police officers on Sunday night.