TOKYO (AP) — “Pokemon Go” players are descending on an atomic bomb memorial park in Hiroshima, and officials of the western Japanese city are displeased.
They have asked game developer Niantic Inc. to remove the “Pokestops” and other virtual sites that show up in the park for those playing the augmented reality game.
The city wants them deleted by Aug. 6 — the anniversary of the 1945 bombing and the date of an annual ceremony to remember the victims.
Niantic declined to comment, saying it would not make public any discussions with a third party. The location-aware app gives digital rewards for visiting real places that have been designated “Pokestops” and “Gyms” in the game.
The expansive Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is meant as a solemn memorial to the victims. But it has become a draw for players since the Japan release of the addictive smartphone game last Friday.
It is unclear if and how the game developer will respond. Niantic offers a form to request exclusions, but it’s neither automatic nor guaranteed.
The Hiroshima memorial is far from the only inappropriate site where pokestops and other “Pokémon Go” locations have appeared.
The Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. has asked people to stop playing the game as it is “inappropriate,” and is petitioning Niantic to have the location “excluded from the game.” (There are there pokestops in the museum, The Washington Post reported.)
Similarly, the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland has banned the game and wants to be removed from the app.
A British hospital has also banned the game due to the issues caused by a gym located in the accident & emergency department. And on July 21, US Department of State spokesperson John Kirby busted a reporter who was playing “Pokémon Go” during a briefing.