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How Japan Is Using Pokemon GO to Bring Tourists Back to Quake-Hit Areas

Almost a year after Japan’s Kyushu island was rocked by a powerful earthquake, one Pokemon character is helping to boost tourism in the affected Kumamoto and Oita prefectures.

Earlier this month, the developer of Pokemon GO announced on the game’s Japanese Twitter account that, between March 4th and 13th, the rare, chubby-looking Snorlax can be spotted more frequently in those two regions.

“We hope the game event will provide an opportunity for people to visit quake-hit areas and find out how things are going,” a representative of Niantic Inc. told the Japan Times. The company also reminds players to steer clear of unsafe zones.

A similar campaign was set up in November 2016 in Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima, where the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami wrought havoc, according to a separate Japan Times article. According to Asahi Shimbun, authorities in Japan’s disaster-struck prefectures have said that they would turn to the popular augmented-reality game to attract more visitors and spur the local economy.

[Photo via Japan Times]

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