Date
23 September 2017
Flowers mark the scene where a woman was killed and another injured by a driver playing Pokémon GO. Photo:  Reuters
Flowers mark the scene where a woman was killed and another injured by a driver playing Pokémon GO. Photo: Reuters

Pokémon GO claims first fatality in Japan

A woman was killed and another injured in what Japanese police are calling the first fatal accident in the country involving the smartphone game Pokémon GO.

Police in Tokushima, on the island of Shikoku in western Japan, said a car plowed into the two women on Tuesday night as they crossed the street, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The crash broke the woman’s neck, killing her, while the other suffered a broken hip.

Local police said the driver of the car told them that he was not looking ahead because he was playing Pokémon GO, a game that involves capturing animated creatures seemingly superimposed on the real world when looking through a smartphone’s camera.

It was the first death caused by an accident related to Pokémon in Japan, the National Police Agency said.

Overall, the agency said there have been 79 accidents since the augmented-reality game was introduced in Japan on July 22, of which 22 resulted in injuries.

In addition, more than 1,000 people have been given citations for playing the game in unsafe ways, such as while driving a vehicle or riding a bicycle, the agency said.

Niantic Inc. and Pokémon Co., which developed the game, expressed condolences to the family of the woman who was killed.

They urged users to be mindful of safety when playing.

The game itself warns users to be “alert at all times. Stay aware of your surroundings.”

A recent update included messaging against driving while playing.

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RA

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