The mayor of Tokyo's Shibuya Ward on Tuesday implored people to stay away from the popular district on Halloween, citing safety concerns for the day that usually attracts large crowds of partygoers every year.

Ken Hasebe said it would "not be surprising" if an accident like the one that happened in Seoul last year also occurred in Shibuya, referring to a fatal overcrowding incident in the neighboring country.

Over 150 people were killed in the crowd crush on Oct. 29 in Seoul's Itaewon entertainment district after tens of thousands gathered to join the first Halloween revelry since COVID-19 restrictions were eased.

Ken Hasebe, mayor of Tokyo's Shibuya Ward speaks at a press conference at the ward office on Sept. 12, 2023. (Kyodo)

"I don't want people to come to Shibuya if they're only coming for Halloween," Hasebe told a press conference, adding that the district is not a party venue.

Drinking on the streets has become normalized on the day, with fights and large amounts of trash also posing safety risks, he said.

Many people, including visitors from abroad, are expected to converge in the district, known for its iconic scramble crossing, for Halloween after the country downgraded the legal status of COVID-19 to the same as seasonal influenza earlier this year.

People walk in costume at a scramble intersection in Tokyo's Shibuya area on Halloween on Oct. 31, 2022. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

The Tokyo ward will ban drinking around Shibuya Station from the evening of Oct. 27 through early Nov. 1, and stores around the area will be requested to restrict alcohol sales on Oct. 28 and 31. About 100 security guards are expected to be deployed, while the district will amp up messaging for inbound visitors.

Hasebe also asked people to refrain from coming to the area in 2020 and 2021 during the pandemic.

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