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Shibuya tackles menace of public drinking

TOKYO, Sep 01 (News On Japan) - In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the culture of "public drinking" around Tokyo's Shibuya Station has been growing among locals and foreigners alike, forcing authorities to crack down on nuisance behaviour.

On September 30, Shibuya Ward declared "Zero Nuisance Public Drinking," with security measures to be implemented from evening to early morning.

Shibuya's "public drinking" culture has undergone notable changes in recent months. Young people can be seen sitting next to piled-up garbage bags, drinking alcohol as if they were at home.

Some foreign individuals are even consuming alcohol under tents.

The presence of Japanese people has diminished, while the number of foreign visitors has surged. According to investigations in Shibuya ward, there are days when the number of foreign nationals seen drinking on the streets is twice that of Japanese people.

When a graduate student in his 20s was asked why he engaged in public drinking, he responded by saying, "When drinking in public with foreigners, if I say something like 'Kanpai!' as in cheers, they all go 'Woo!' and cheer. Everyone becomes like friends."

The mayor of Shibuya exclaimed, "We've observed a larger number of foreigners engaging in public drinking than before. Especially as the post-COVID period is emerging, this has become a significant issue."

"With a budget of around 200 million yen, we are carrying out patrols within Shibuya Ward. Additionally, we are planning to allocate several million yen more and create a patrol unit focused on standing drinking, particularly in the Shibuya area," the mayor added.

Starting from September 1st, every day from 8 PM to 5 AM, six security personnel from private companies will be patrolling Shibuya Ward. Among them, there will also be individuals who can speak English to address foreigners.

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