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Pokemon GO-ZILLA: Safety fears after monsters appear in Fukushima danger zone

What is it with the Japanese, radiation and made-up creatures?

By Shaun Nichols, 27 Jul 2016

Japan's Tokyo Electric Power Co is upset that Pokemon Go players on the hunt for monsters are being lured into the Fukushima Nuclear Exclusion Zone.

The fictional creatures were apparently spotted close to the destroyed Daiichi nuclear reactors by Tepco officials. The presence of the collectible cyber-animals could tempt addicts into no-go areas, it is feared.

As a result, power company bosses have demanded that the land around the crippled power plants, where radiation levels remain relatively high, be removed from the hit mobile game. According to daily paper The Mainichi Shimbun:

The utility searched the premises of three of its nuclear stations – the Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 plants in Fukushima Prefecture and the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture – after the game app was launched in Japan on July 22, and found that Pokemon appeared in at least one of these nuclear plants. Tepco cannot reveal where the Pokemon were spotted due to the possibility of gamers flocking to plant grounds.

According to a public relations official of app developer Niantic, the company has excluded at least the Fukushima No. 1 plant and the No. 2 plant from the game. The app developer says it cannot tell for now whether Pokemon actually appeared at either of the Fukushima plants.

The rub seems to be that while the wrecked plants themselves are void of any Pokemon in the game, the surrounding land may not be, leading to calls by prefecture officials for the Japanese government to force Niantic to rope off the whole area.

There is a so-called "difficult to return" area 337 square kilometres in size around the power stations that has restricted access. This area is part of the game, though, thus potentially drawing players into danger.

So far, according to the police, no one has been crazy enough to venture into the danger zone to catch 'em all. The power plants were ruined by a devastating tsunami in March 2011. ®

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