• Kyodo


The city of Ichinomiya, Aichi Prefecture, has received nine threatening email messages since asking the U.S. maker of “Pokemon Go” to install a function that can disable the game when a player is driving.

The Ichinomiya Municipal Government received the similarly worded threats, sent from different IP addresses, on Wednesday, when reports began to emerge about the city’s request, a municipal official said Saturday.

“Drop the request or your families will receive divine punishment,” the official quoted a message as saying. “Would you like to see the city office in flames?”

The city’s request followed the death of a boy earlier this year caused by the popular smartphone game.

Keita Noritake, 9, was fatally hit by a truck while crossing a street in the city in late October. The 36-year-old driver, Nobusuke Kawai, reportedly told the police he was playing “Pokemon Go” when it happened. Aichi Prefecture has logged seven accidents linked to the game so far, including a second fatality.

On Nov. 4, the city asked U.S. software company Niantic Inc., which released the game in Japan in late July, and its Japanese unit to disable “Pokemon Go” for players other than pedestrians. The Aichi Prefectural Police made a similar request the same day.

The GPS-based game issues a speed warning if the smartphone detects a player who is moving too fast, such as in a moving vehicle. But the warning can be dismissed just by touching the “I’m a passenger” pop-up message that appears on the screen.

The Ichinomiya Municipal Government has consulted the Aichi Prefectural Police about the threats and will file a complaint if they continue, the official said.

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