Disaster-stricken areas of Japan look to ‘Pokemon Go’

The augmented-reality game “Pokemon Go” is being welcomed in parts of Japan recovering from natural disasters. Photo by ep/Ezio Petersen/UPI

TOKYO, Aug. 10 (UPI) — Pokemon Go is taking gamers by storm and the popular augmented-reality game is getting a warm response in parts of Japan recovering from recent disasters.

The Japanese prefectures of Kumamoto, Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima all hoped the game would lure visitors and revive local economies, Kyodo news agency reported Wednesday.

Officials said they are planning to resolve the details with U.S. game developer Niantic, which include proposals for developing tourist destinations as “Pokestops.”

“Pokestops” are destinations in the game where players collect items and battle Pokemon characters.

Some of the areas that are badly damaged by tsunami, including Iwate prefecture, want more tourists to visit coastal areas, said Gov. Takuya Tasso.

In April, two earthquakes hit Kumamoto, another prefecture seeking more visitors that killed at least 49 people and injured about 3,000 others.

The quakes included a tremor that registered a magnitude of 7.0 that led to the evacuation of more than 44,000 people from their homes.

Fukushima was the site of the devastating earthquake that hit coastal Japan in March 2011.

In July, Japan asked the Fukushima nuclear exclusion zone be classified as a no-area for Pokemon.

More than 180,000 people remain displaced and 100,000 others are unable to return to the Fukushima area because of radiation leaks.


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