Niantic was planning to do a promotional collaboration with the Pokémon Air Adventures campaign by having a special Okinawan kariyushi shirt-wearing Pikachu appear in Pokémon Go. That has now been delayed.
Below is the update Niantic added to the original announcement:
Due to recent developments, we will be postponing the Pokémon Air Adventures collaboration that was scheduled to begin on Thursday, July 22, 2021. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes. We will share more information once details are finalized.
No other details were given.
Originally, the special Pikachu was scheduled to appear in Pokémon Go to celebrate Okinawa. When announced, Niantic explained: “This Pikachu will be appearing for over a year, so if you are able to travel and get the chance to visit Okinawa, you can try looking for one!”
Japan has banned foreign tourists from entering the country due to the pandemic. Entering Japan is difficult at the moment, even for residents—though, there do appear to be exceptions for those involved with the Olympics.
Besides the special Pikachu, a Shiny Corsola was also slated to appear in Pokémon Go starting July 22 and available in only certain areas.
The promotion is part of Pokémon Air Adventures, a themed travel campaign that includes a new Pikachu Jet (covered with ten Pikachus!) as well as Pikachu themed airport check-in kiosks, social distancing Pokéballs, Pokémon baggage tags and even a Pokémon-themed tour bus in Okinawa.
However, with Tokyo’s fourth state of emergency—in an effort to curb covid-19 infections—scheduled to end on August 22, it certainly seems possible that this is the “recent developments” Niantic mentioned in its update.
With the Olympics not allowing spectators, it might have been seen as bad form by either Niantic, The Pokémon Company, or both, to roll out a brand new Pokémon Go promotion aimed at attracting people to visit an area.
Once the state of emergency ends, it seems likely the promotion could get a new release date.