'Pedestrian paradise' to be suspended in Akihabara

TOKYO —

The Tokyo Public Safety Council on Friday said the so-called “pedestrian paradise” in the Akihabara district on weekends will be suspended following last Sunday’s stabbing spree in which seven people were killed.

According to the council, local merchants and community organizations requested the suspension in the aftermath of the killings. The council said the suspension would be indefinite.

The pedestrian paradise was introduced in 1973. However, even before last Sunday’s attacks, locals had been complaining for some time about some of the sexually explicit photo events on the street.

  • 0

    DoctorTofu

    It's a partial repost, but maybe here someone will be able to explain this decision to me.

    Following last Sunday's stabbing spree, I will refrain from wearing red underwear on Saturdays and I will place the accent on the last syllable of "Akihabara" on every 3rd, 20th and 28th of all even months. It's about as logical as the decision to open the street to cars as a reaction to the killings.

    Also, would anyone care to explain how exactly will the magic power of traffic combat the sexually explicit photo events? Are photographers allergic to exhaust fumes? Do aspiring porn stars' heads explode when they hear car horns, just like martians' heads in "Mars Attack" in reaction to music?

  • 0

    thepro

    Oh well, clear out the freaks

  • 0

    some14some

    Right move, hope no new paradise will be created in other parts of the country.

  • 0

    Fair dinkum!

    This is just stupid! Why in the hallibit wouldn't they just have the police get up of their fat barts and do something about controlling the illegal street performers and porn photographers instead of stopping it altogether? However, after being in Akihabara on a Sunday during this 'perverts paradise' time it is a nightmare getting around cos of the lack of organization. By this logic, they should stop it in Shinjuku too, shouldn't they? Madness!

  • 0

    Eccoman

    What's the Japanese term for pointless knee-jerk reaction?

  • 0

    smartacus

    I suppose they'll do the same at Ginza. The retailers always gripe about pedestrian paradises, claiming that crowds watching performers on streets block the entrance to their stores. They don't realize that pedestrian paradises give a city some color and personality. Every great city in the world has them.

  • 0

    tkoind2

    Another idiotic knee jerk reaction. Brilliant leadership guys! Solve the problem by masking it with a pointless solution. Let the bad guys win.

    Why don't you just put up barriers on the streets instead? Or do something about treating the problem with all the alienated people out there. But that would mean doing some real work and we can't have that now can we.

    I've seen better governed shanty towns than Tokyo's uninspired leaders.

  • 0

    medievaltimes

    Welcome to Japanese logic.

  • 0

    tkoind2

    I love people here and this country has a lot of up sides, but logic here is not a strong point. Nor is community outrage when leaders do thick skulled things like this. I wish people would push back when leaders do clueless things.

  • 0

    hoserfella

    "indefinite"-Only in Japan does this mean "forever"

  • 0

    zanza123

    I saw a photographer photographing a hot lass at Shibuya once, they were focusing on a lace band attached to her leg though, so I am not sure if it was indeed a legitimate shoot (which wouldn't explain why it was done in the streets in the first place) or a erotic underground photoshoot or something of that caliber.

  • 0

    timorborder

    **Go home people, cringe in your houses, the barbarians are not at the gate, they are already inside!! ** While I would understand a temporary suspension of this "Pedestrian Paradise" (out of a sign of respect to those killed, and also to give the police some time to think about how to respond if it happens again), an "indefinite suspension" reaks of gutlessness on the part of the powers that be. If society is forced to change its ways (and suffer) as a result of the actions of one deranged SOB, then folks, the barbarians have already won.

  • 0

    Tragica

    The terrorist won.

  • 0

    Ichirou

    As I understand it, they've been wanting to "clean up" Akihabara for some time now. This may just have been a good excuse to do it, starting with getting rid of the pedestrian paradise on the weekends. I think it's a stupid idea, personally.

  • 0

    GenkiDesuKa

    It seems the long time community members don't like the direction or attention akihabara has been getting, or the kind of people who are attracted to the place these days. The first place I wanted to go to when I first came to Tokyo in 1997 was Akihabara. However, it seems the place has been getting more red-district like since the maid cafe boom. I'm sure people who have been in Akihabara for many years are a little worried that someone would drive all the way from Shizuoka to target the place, but that seems to be the feather that broke the camel's back, so to speak, as opposed to the event that first got people thinking about closing down the streets on the weekend.

  • 0

    Nessie

    Because everyone knows there are no other streets where you can run down pedestrians.

  • 0

    Mr.Ken

    This incident could happen in any place at anytime. This case this guy was looking for attention so he did it on middle of Akihabara doing blogs etc. For sure this is never ever going to happen again in that place like that, next time probable it would be in a mall in Hokkaido or Kyuushuu on a weekday. No blog no nothing, just another crazy guy for sure. The suspension of the 'Pedestrian paradise' has only respectful meaning. Anything else is going to change. The freaks taking pictures will just do it on another places but not far away. So it's not solving the problem, just trying to get rid of them.

  • 0

    TokyoGas

    Ha! I knew it.

  • 0

    Ichirou

    The maid cafe stuff is skeezy, sure, but it's not like Akihabara is Kabukicho. I'm not sure what they mean when they say "sexually explicit photo events" in the streets, though...I've been there on the weekends and there's nothing that has caught my immediate attention as being particularly untoward.

  • 0

    gogogo

    Why? The sidewalks are going to be rammed now.

  • 0

    angelheart

    They'll be banning GTA 4 next.

  • 0

    Antonios_M

    Thats a stupid idea, indeed! The 'Pedestrian paradise' was like a tradition in Akihabara. You had the opportunity to walk freely and view the modern culture of anime. It doesnt matter if the people were otaku or just tourists. The whole fact was like an attraction. I hope that the same won't happen in Ginza....

  • 0

    Fair dinkum!

    Ironically, this action will compact the pedestrian traffic even more. All they had to do was to make vehicle proof barriers and the cops to do some work removing the perverts. But, if they removed the perverts from Akihabara 60% of the shops would go out of business. - After nine years of shaking my head in disbelief I wanna sue the Tokyo Government for repetitive stress injury to my neck.

  • 0

    kinniku

    "However, even before last Sunday’s attacks, locals had been complaining for some time about some of the sexually explicit photo events on the street."

    This is the real reason for the suspension. They have been complaining about this for quite some time. However, wouldn't it make more sense to clamp down on the street sex shows rather than just ruin every's fun? Guess not...

  • 0

    capone

    paradise...??? akihabara...??? i don't THINK SO

  • 0

    nisegaijin

    Noooooooo!!!!! That was such a good thing!!! Don't care about the shows. but having entire street turned into a mall was brilliant way to attract customers. Stupid local morons! They should have been stabbed! What's next? Azabu-juban matsuri?

  • 0

    GW

    i think Tokyo shud do the right thing now & pull out of its bid for the 2016 olympics because you never know someone might have a knife and...........sometimes this damn country is so incredibly daft, this is one of those times

  • 0

    badge123

    All they have to do is place up some mobile barriers, or improvise like during riots, use city buses parked diagonally,\ to block large vehicles from entering, but still allowing space for pedestrians to pass around.

  • 0

    MichaelJP

    Opening the street for traffic to protect pedestrians is like having sex to prevent pregnancy.

  • 0

    electric2004

    So, people going to a local matsuri have to be more careful from now.

  • 0

    kinniku

    Opening the street for traffic to protect pedestrians is like having sex to prevent pregnancy.

    Except a lot less fun.

  • 0

    Zen_Builder

    Hope this will get rid of all the 5-story sex-shops and other pink industry places in the district. Plenty of which disguise themself as maid-something.

    Crime In Akihabara has been on the rise in the last few years too, with guys mugging the otaku, tourists, etc.

    I know lots of families that are weary to take small kids there due to those places and happenings gotten worse after the Tsukuba Express opened.

    Most of my otaku friends stopped going to Akihabara years ago as it was getting over-run and turned into a tourist-trap.

    Just my 2 yen worth.

  • 0

    kinniku

    Zen_Builder,

    Respectfully, why don't they just go ahead and get rid of that stuff directly without affecting law-abiding citizens? Make the area safe-yes. Get rid of a pedestrian only area-why? I don't think the two have to be linked at all. Just get the police to stop people from doing nasty things where they shouldn't be.

  • 0

    meija

    As always, the politicians must be seen to do something, or face accusations from their competitors that they did nothing. Can't have that loss of face, can we? Of course, when there is something totally random like this, there is nothing the local politicians can do, so they always come up with hair-brained schemes like this one.

    Now, the crazy guy intent on killing won't even have to get out of his truck to kill people, he'll be able to right in there with his truck and do a lot more damage. Great solution that. So well thought out. [/sarcasm]

  • 0

    Zen_Builder

    kinniku.

    Because to a certain degree the Otaku are linked with the pink industry. Removing the pedestrian street will result in fewer Otaku going to Akihabara, which actually fits the goverments plans as they are turning Akihabara into a Show-case IT centre.

    Lots of the buildings are old and scheduled to be torn down,many shops are closing as the owners are retiring, so the Otaku/Anime and pink shops moved in as they live on short-term leases. In short they want the whole district to be like the Yodobashi Camera side.

    Similar stuff happened in Nakano Broadway (another Otaku centre/actually pre-dates akihabara).

    HTH.

  • 0

    Beelzebub

    A typical overreaction. It's obvious that the authorities fear copycat crime above all else. In fact, last Sunday's crime was a copycat too. Who knows what else they will wind up banning in the effort to prevent recurrences.

  • 0

    kinniku

    Because to a certain degree the Otaku are linked with the pink industry. Removing the pedestrian street will result in fewer Otaku going to Akihabara

    Thanks for the response! However, why not get rid of the pink industry in the area itself. It seems that would do a lot more to get rid of the "otaku" you are referring to than getting rid of the pedestrian street. If the businesses still exist, what difference does it make to "otaku" whether there is a pedestrian area or not.

    If the government wants to change the area from a pink industry area to an IT area (which would certainly be safer), they still don't need to take away the pleasure of no traffic in the area.

  • 0

    badge123

    In the end, it makes no sense, because now you just crowd the sidewalks even more people. What next, are they going to close Shibuya crossing?

  • 0

    Sarge

    "What next, are they going to close Shibuya crossing?"

    Just as soon as some wacko kills some people there.

  • 0

    ka_chan

    Well now if you rent a truck to mow down people, you will be very successful and no reason to resort to a knife. If I remember right, the sidewalk is wide enough for a car or small trunk and there are guard rail for protection from the street. Yep, just like bowling with a ball as wide as the alley.
    The Otaku were going to Akihabara before the pink industry and openning the street just means no street performers. BTW, I think there is more pink industry in Ueno and Ikebukuro than Akihabara. If they want to get rid of the pink industry, they should do what they did in Edo; reserve a district.

  • 0

    Zen_Builder

    I would say the level of the Pink Industry is about the same in Ikebukuro and Akihabara, except that in ikebukuro it has it's own little "kabukicho" as do many other stations.

    Many areas are changing now Ikebukuro(otaku-centre for ladies) will soon get the Tokyo China-Town, Okubo already is the new Korean-town, etc.

    OTOH, if I wanted to kill a lot of people using a truck I would choose areas like Kichijoji's Sunroad, Nakano(Mall up to the Boulevard), etc or any other heavily crowded shopping street.

    Anoterh problem with the pink industries is that they are not illegal perse, so the goverment can do little to prevent them from opening.

    Example: The kabukicho in Kichijoji, local goverment is trying to get rid of it and does so by opening muncipial places, etc whenever a building gets torn down. Why because according to the law you can't operate such a business within a certain distance of a goverment run establishment/building. This is the reason why the public library is where it is.

    As for the closing of the Pedestrian Paradise, I don't think it is suck a big loss.

  • 0

    Zen_Builder

    Hmm, the Mainichi daily reports that the suspesnion most likely is short-term only and that the "Pedestrians Paradise" will be back in July pending a further decision.

    http://mdn.mainichi.jp/national/news/20080613p2a00m0na016000c.html

  • 0

    kaoken

    Wow I don't know how it's gonna affect the locals, but even I know this is one of the worse ways to go about this.

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