After requests from city officials, the Hiroshima Memorial Park is no longer a Pokémon GO-friendly area – just in time for the annual ceremony in remembrance of the deadly atomic bombing that killed 140,000 during World War II.
Hiroshima officials had previously asked Niantic to remove the park from Pokémon GO after word spread of an update that would allow locations to opt-out of being a Pokéstop or Gym. Niantic took initiative and removed over 30 Pokéstops and 3 Gyms by last Thursday – Pokémon were still spawning, however, and those were removed by 1:56 AM on Saturday, six hours before the ceremony began.
Niantic also respected the wishes of officials in Nagasaki, and removed all content from Nagasaki Peace Park, a similar memorial for the city’s 1945 bombing. Pokémon have also been removed from the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., as well as the disaster zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
While it may be easy to wonder why Niantic didn’t have more forethought in the process, it’s simply because all of Pokémon GO’s data is imported from Ingress, Niantic’s previous location-based game. Ingress didn’t even come close to Pokémon GO‘s level of popularity, so these issues never popped up.
If anything, let this be another desperately needed lesson in common sense when it comes to playing Pokémon GO – nothing spawning at a war memorial is worth the disruption. Not even a Charizard.