Yesterday, it was announced that Kyoto city was going forward with a real-world Pokémon Go event to be held on November 22. Today, there was a realization that, yeah, this is probably not a great idea.
As Mainichi reports, the Pokémon Go City Spotlight was to be held in Kyoto as well as in Busan in South Korea, Auckland in New Zealand, and Tainan in Taiwan. This is the first real-world Pokémon Go event to be held in the wake of covid-19's global spread, and these cities were selected due to their manageable infection rate. Kyoto was the only Japanese city selected to participate.
Because of Japan’s tourist ban, Kyoto has seen a sharp decline in tourism. “As a city making efforts for safe and sustainable tourism, Kyoto welcomes the event,” said Kyoto Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa. “We would like visitors to have fun playing Pokemon Go while enjoying Kyoto’s beautiful autumn scenery.”
Japan is experiencing a third wave with the country marking a record number of cases this Wednesday that’s double last month’s daily average. While these numbers are much, much lower than, for example, in the United States, they are higher than the figures seen earlier this year when Japan declared a state of emergency. According to Japan Today, one reason why the number of novel coronavirus cases is now increasing is a government tourism program that encouraged people to travel the country.
For the proposed Pokémon Go event in Kyoto, the official website stated that only residents of the city were allowed to participate. However, without any way to confirm a player’s residence, there was still concern that the Pokémon Go City Spotlight could increase the number of infections.
The Pokémon Go City Spotlight has now been canceled in Kyoto, Mainichi reports, and Niantic will offer refunds to anyone who purchased tickets. The event, however, will be held as planned in Busan, Auckland, and Tainan.