Four prefectures in the northeast and southwest of Japan that were devastated by the earthquake and tsunami in 2011 or badly damaged by a major tremor in April are counting on the frenzy sparked by Pokemon Go to draw tourists to their regions.

Local officials from Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures in the Tohoku region as well as Kumamoto Prefecture on the main island of Kyushu said Wednesday they will use the popular augmented-reality game to encourage more people to visit in a bid to help their rebuilding efforts.

11 aug pokemonThe four prefectures are planning to work out details with the Japanese unit of U.S. game developer Niantic Inc, hoping that more tourist destinations in their regions will serve as Pokestops where players can collect items or “gyms” where they can battle their Pokemon, or virtual pocket monsters.

Iwate Gov. Takuya Tasso expressed hope that people from other parts of Japan and abroad will visit and see its coastal areas that were ravaged by tsunami.

Since the game was released in July, Japanese fans have flocked to download the popular mobile game, braving the scorching summer heat outdoors.

But “Pokemon Go” has also led the Japanese government to issue safety warnings amid concerns about injuries and accidents as players tend to get fixated on their smartphone screens while playing.

The Tottori prefectural government in western Japan is also trying to capitalize on the game as a way to rejuvenate the local economy. It is encouraging players to visit the Tottori Sand Dunes, touting it as a “safe place” to enjoy the game.

Source: Japan Today
Image: ANN
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