Kumamoto prefecture was hit with a massive earthquake earlier this year. The reconstruction is in good progress, but the widespread damage was nearly the same level as the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, and a lot of areas still need to be repaired.

The reconstruction is one difficult part, but the government is also struggling the decreased number of traveling visitors. Even if everything returns to its original form, without people, it will only be a ghost town. Fortunately, Niantic stepped in and teamed up the 4 damaged prefectures of Kumamoto, Miyagi, Iwate, and Fukushima, using Pokemon to fight against mother nature. The officials hope to see the light of more visitors to come, so Niantic decided to increase more Pokestops and gyms to the damaged areas. The Pokestops are the main resources for Pokemon trainers to refill Poke Balls to catch’ em all and collect other items. And even though they are normally stationed near statues, shrines, and historical areas, “rules can be broken” because one area of our world is in need of help.

The news conference included government officials and 4 mascots (not Pokemon) representing their prefectures, as well as the president of Niantic Japan.

The Miyagi Governor Yoshihiro Murai emphasized that he “especially wants [tourists] to come to coastal areas,” which was awfully damaged by the disaster. Also, they wish to improve transportation to give the Pokemon GO trainers easier access.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.