Miyagi Prefecture Bets on Pokemon Go for Regional Revitalization
posted on by Eric Stimson
Miyagi Prefecture in Tōhoku was one of three prefectures most affected by the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster in March 2011. It still hasn't completely recovered, and it's turning to the latest smartphone craze, Pokemon Go, for an economic boost.
On August 30, the prefecture announced that it was setting aside 30 million yen (US$290,144) in its annual budget for Pokemon Go-related expenses. Like many businesses, it calculates that advertising PokeStops and Pokemon catching opportunities will bring visitors, but it will go further and provide public spaces to play the game as well as booths to sell goods from the other prefectures and Kumamoto Prefecture (a Kyushu area badly damaged by earthquakes this year). 10 million yen (US$96,715) has been allocated for these expenses. A further 15 million yen (US$145,072) will pay for advertising: public maps, pamphlets, a website, and TV commercials meant to draw Pokemaniacs to Miyagi Prefecture. Finally, 5 million yen (US$48,357) will be paid to Niantic, the game's developer, for system repairs.
While the prefecture's plans aren't finalized yet, it hopes to convince Niantic to do something special for it. For instance, certain Pokemon (Tauros, Mr. Mime, Kangaskhan and Farfetch'd) are only available overseas; perhaps Niantic can make these Pokemon appear in Miyagi for a limited time?
Miyagi Prefecture's Pokemon Go events will be held in October. Businesses have largely welcomed the game since it brings foot traffic and windfalls; Nintendo's shares doubled in the two weeks after the game's launch (although they later dropped when Nintendo reminded investors that it didn't actually develop it).