• Kyodo, Staff Report


The Supreme Court has joined the chorus of complaints about the hit smartphone game “Pokemon Go,” saying the nation’s 486 courts should be excluded from areas where its characters — and players — can be found, it was learned Wednesday.

The top court issued a request to U.S. game maker Niantic Inc. not to place the virtual-reality monsters and “Pokestops,” locations where players can find special items needed to play the game, near court buildings.

Officials were quoted as saying it is inappropriate to let players search for characters in places where serious cases are being adjudicated.

The Hiroshima Municipal Government followed suit the same day, asking Niantic to exclude Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park from areas where the characters fight each other before the Aug. 6 anniversary of the atomic bombing.

City officials said they had received complaints from residents concerned by the crowds of smartphone users gathering near the Atomic Bomb Dome at night.

The city plans to set up signs in Japanese and English in the park urging players not to be public nuisances by walking around like smartphone zombies. The Nagasaki Municipal Government has also asked Niantic not to place Pokestops in Nagasaki Peace Park either.

In Aichi, meanwhile, NHK reported that the Nagoya Municipal Government has asked the firm to prevent the Nintendo characters from appearing near the Higashiyama water reservoir in Chikusa Ward where public entry is banned.

The city took the step after receiving a report that a young man was seen leaving the facility after apparently playing “Pokemon Go” there, NHK said.

Nagoya officials underlined that the reservoir is a critical public facility and that the entry of strangers should be strictly banned to avoid the possibility that the city’s drinking water could be intentionally contaminated with dangerous chemicals.

The latest moves follow similar requests by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Co., operator of the meltdown-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, and Kansai Electric Power Co., which runs three nuclear plants in Fukui Prefecture.

Tepco asked Niantic to exclude its three nuclear power plants from the list of locations where Pokemon characters can be found.

Kepco meanwhile confirmed that the characters can be found at its nuclear plants in Takahama, Mihama and Oi in Fukui Prefecture but are asking players not to enter the facilities because they are dangerous.

In addition, 23 railway and subway companies nationwide Tuesday requested that the characters not appear on station platforms and rail lines.

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