Huge crowds force suspension of Tokyo Station light-up event

TOKYO —

JR East was forced to cancel the Tokyo Michiterasu illumination event at Tokyo Station on Sunday night because of the huge numbers of visitors flocking to see the spectacle. For safety reasons, JR East said the event would also be canceled on Monday night.

The light-up event is being held to promote the newly renovated station as a new tourist spot. It began last Friday and is scheduled to run until Friday night.

In addition to the thousands of lights, including revolving lanterns along Gyoko-dori Avenue, the event features state-of-the-art 3D projection mapping displayed on the Tokyo Station Marunouchi Building. The name “Michiterasu” was derived from a Japanese term with multiple meanings, including shedding light on the road ahead, on the people, the city and the future.

On Saturday night, more than 100,000 people gathered in front of the station to view the spectacle. On Sunday night, just before 6 p.m., a huge crowd had massed in front of the station, occupying the main street and blocking traffic. JR East, Tokyo Station officials and police decided to suddenly suspend the event to prevent accidents.

JR East did not say if the event will be held for the rest of the week. Since Tuesday through Friday are work days, the area is unlikely to draw as many people as the three-day holiday weekend. JR East said it will make a decision on Tuesday.

Japan Today

  • 8

    smithinjapan

    Gotta love the crowds. Say something will happen, and watch the people flock. Weird to hear something like this being cancelled, but if was genuinely for safety, then I say bravo for putting safety first for a change. And hey, think of the power you save!

  • 3

    Korlacan Khanthavilay

    They should have just closed the roads. You know, like during festivals.

  • 3

    herefornow

    Since Tuesday through Friday are work days,

    Yup, shows how meaningful Christmas really is in Japan. Lots of beautiful lights with no significance.

  • 2

    InSendai

    I've been in much worse crowds; and, didn't feel any safety concerns last night at all. Glad we went early enough to see it before it got cancelled. This seemed to be more of a lack in planning, than anything else. Why allow motor traffic on the road leading to the station? If it had been closed, like Ginza on Sunday afternoon, not only would we have been "safer", but, the available prime viewing area would have been roughly tripled.

  • 2

    Pukey2

    This is what happens when you give the nation only a few days off for the new year season, jack up air fare prices and make KFC the highlight of Xmas Day. Looking at the illuminations is just about the only free enjoyment there is. The result? See above.

  • 2

    gokai_wo_maneku

    @hereforenow, It is a Buddhist/Shinto country. Christmas is just a commercial affair for Christmas cake makers. But I agree, like the situation for Shinto festivals, they should just have closed off the roads. Bad planning.

  • 1

    sourpuss

    I agree with InSendai. The main problem was the lack of organization.

    I was there yesterday, and my wife and I kept saying how stupid it was not to have closed the roads.

  • 1

    danalawton1@yahoo.com

    Lets see.... only 1 Nuclear power plant is running in Japan and there is a real need to conserve energy overall but JNR does not see it that way. I'll give the Japanese credit.... they're still quite up-beat despite so many things deteriorating around them.

  • 1

    AmericanInThailand

    Please, better safe than sorry. For instance, the Hillsborough disaster in England in the late 80's saw 96 lives crushed to death because of over crowding and lack of crowd control. The Japanese are some of the smartest beings on the planet, and knows what lunacy and lack of care can lead to. So hush it up people.

  • 0

    JeffLee

    Wise decision. 100,000 people in such a dense, built-up place is crazy.

  • 0

    some14some

    in short 'Light-up Event Failed" whether due to huge crowd or lack of organization.

  • 0

    techall

    So this is how the J police handle unexpected situations.......call it off. So you had a problem on Sunday, that gives you about 18 hours to figure out how to re-route traffic. God help them if they ever have a real emergency.....mass chaos.

  • 0

    lucabrasi

    Why cancel it and spoil the fun? But then, this is Japan.

    And if there'd been a stampede with dozens crushed to death you'd have been posting "What idiot let this go ahead? But then, this is Japan."

    Japan-haters will always find fuel for their little bonfires of outrage.

  • 0

    Disillusioned

    Glad I talk my GF out of going into Tokyo and stayed in the burbs.

  • -2

    House Atreides

    Better safe than sorry. Three people were trampled to death during an overcrowded Steve Aoki concert in November. If anyone was injured or killed due to overcrowding at the Michiterasu event, the authorities would be blamed for not having taken any action.

  • -2

    realist

    Ridiculous. Why cancel it and spoil the fun? But then, this is Japan.

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