By >Akihabara News Team
Akihabara Street Pedestrian Safe Haven to Resume
On Sunday, June 8, two and a half years ago, Japan stared in shock at the sight of an indiscriminate massacre in an Akihabara intersection: the streets were closed to traffic, a 35-year-old Sundays-and-holidays tradition known in Japanese as pedestrian heaven or pedestrian safe haven, and crowds were enjoying a slow, exciting day in the oddest district in Tokyo when a rental truck careened into the intersection and hit five people. The driver, Tomohiro Kato, then proceeded to continue on foot with a knife, stabbing at least twelve, before police cornered him in a back street. Seven people died in the incident, at least seventeen ambulances were on the scene, and this marks the first time that more than one DMAT unit was deployed to a non-natural disaster.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department and the Public Safety Committee announced Friday that they will once again open a stretch of street in Akihabara to pedestrians as a trial run for half a year, starting on Sunday, January 23. The safe haven will be from 1PM to 5PM – one hour later than before 2008 – and will be 200-some meters shorter than previously, and only on Sundays. Local residents and business owners will patrol the safe haven alongside the normal complement of police to keep crazy performances like the spontaneous strip shows and airsoft battles that Akihabara was infamous for from occuring. Additionally, fifty security cameras were put up around town earlier this year.