Excitement for the imminent Japan launch of “Pokemon Go” has reached such fever pitch that government authorities and business executives are warning prospective gamers against accidents even before its release.
The National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity (NISC) under the Cabinet Office has issued a nine-point warning full of illustrations on Twitter and Line, warning against potential trouble over the online game, expected to be launched in Japan as soon as Thursday.
“Please pass this on to people around you, especially to children, so everyone can enjoy the game, and play it safely,” the center’s account @nisc_forecast tweeted Wednesday night.
The post, retweeted more than 15,000 times, asks people to protect their privacy while using the GPS-loaded, augmented-reality game, by registering “cool names that are different from real names” when playing it, and keeping away from “dangerous zones” while trying to catch Pokemon characters.
“In countries where the game has already been launched, various incidents have been reported, including users getting run over by a car, falling into a pond, getting bitten by a snake and getting robbed,” the NISC said.
It also cautioned users against heatstroke, as they are expected to walk around outdoors trying to catch Pokemon, and bring spare batteries with their smartphones to prepare for emergency communications with others.
“I want people to abide by the warning so that people can play it on smartphones safely,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Thursday.
Also on Wednesday, West Japan Railway Co. (JR West) expressed concern about the potential for increased accidents at train stations.
“We are worried that enthused users could get into trouble or in accidents,” JR West President Tatsuo Kijima said. “Use of smartphones while walking is a major cause of accidents on train platforms. We have asked passengers, over and over again, not to use smartphones while walking.”
Meanwhile, the Niigata chapter of the Japan Lawyers Association for Freedom (JLAF), a 2,000-member nationwide group, made an appeal to the Niigata Municipal Board of Education on Wednesday to provide guidance to elementary and junior high school students.
Specifically, the group asked the board to teach children about any problems involving “Pokemon Go” overseas; about playing the game with guardians if possible; and how they should keep away from “inappropriate places.”
“We want schools to make sure to avoid trouble,” JLAF Niigata chapter head Toshiyuki Tsuchiya said.
Information from Kyodo added