With the recent incidents, it seems the regular pedestrianisation of much of Akihabara is on its last legs. Police and area committees seem set to announce an urgent suspension of the policy shortly, with police expressing concerns over the possibility of copycat crimes, even though Mrs Wide Open is no longer a fixture in Akiba. However, shops too have been urging an end to the policy.
In truth it may be the concerns of local businesses, voiced even before the latest incident, rather than any practical considerations of policing, which are helping to motivate the abolition of the policy. We hear from a machine parts retailer near the scene of the incident: “I’m grateful for the boom, but the people who come here in the capacity of tourists have worse manners and are more disruptive than before. Best to the stop the whole thing”.
A seller of light fixtures has this to add: “There are absolutely loads of people who don’t even have the common sense not to eat and drink in the shop amongst the people who come here during the pedestrian times. There are all kinds of performers too. Better to stop it, than let the place degenerate into a lawless area”.
These complaints may just be sour grapes from retailers unable to exploit the boom, but their voices still carry weight in the local chambers of commerce. Mrs Wide Open may have a lot to answer for.