With Pokemon GO having taken over the globe, it can feel as if it’s impossible to escape the popular app. You can go just about anywhere and find remnants of the augmented reality app, but some stanch critics have complained about pokemon popping up in unwelcome locations with good reason. Officials at several memorials have asked Niantic to remove Pokemon GO’s presence from their locales in order to prevent loitering gamers from flooding the somber sites. And, recently, Hiroshima’s Memorial Park was finally able to say goodbye to Pokemon GO.
Park officials had asked Niantic to remove the app several times before, but their pleas became particularly loud prior to last weekend. The area was set to host an annual ceremony which marks the anniversary of the tragic atomic bombing that killed more than 140,000 civilians at the end of World War II. Many locals feared the solemn occasion would be marred by uninvited Pokemon GO players who stumbled upon the event unintentionally or otherwise.
By last Thursday, Niantic had removed all PokeStops and gyms from the park, but pokemon were still popping up randomly in the park. Players continued trickling into the park to catch those lingering pocket monsters, so officials decided to reach out to Niantic once again. They sent an email which asked the developer to prevent pokemon from spawning anywhere in the park. And, just six hours before the park’s ceremony got underway, Niantic was able to fulfill the city’s request.
Tatsuya Sumida, a city official, said, “We were so relieved. We were worried if those 'Pokemon' were really going to go away in time.”
He went on to say, “We consider the park a sacred place where we pray for the victims of the atomic bombings.” Sumida also said officials believe the park's pokemon problem is now gone for good.
Hiroshima’s memorial park isn’t the first location to ask Niantic to remove Pokemon GO from its property. Elsewhere in Japan, officials have asked Niantic to keep pokemon far away from the Fukushima Disaster’s Fallout Zone. Players have previously been spotted trespassing in the irradiated area to catch pokemon. The Holocaust Memorial in Washington D.C. has also asked Niantic to remove Pokemon GO, and not long ago, the developer finally moved the app out per the museum’s request.
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