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Pikachu Outbreak Event Causes Growing Pains for Yokohama

posted on by Jennifer Sherman

Most people consider this year's Pikachu Outbreak event and related Pokémon GO events as great successes. The fourth Pikachu event was held in the Minato Mirai 21 business district of Yokohama on August 9-15. A city official reported that 2.3 million people attended, compared to last year's 1.79 million. The sheer number of people undoubtedly brought a lot of revenue to the area, but the chaos from hosting such a large crowd also took its toll on area residents and police.

People walking while staring at their smartphones and parking their cars in nearby streets created congestion. The city and prefectural police received more than 130 complaints related to the event. According to the Tobe police station, an office worker in his 50s kicked a man walking in front of him, whom he believed was playing Pokémon GO. The incident happened on Sunday, and the worker reportedly said, "I got irritated with the nuisance."

Because the cellular network in Japan is more sophisticated and advanced than that in America, the related Pokémon GO events did not suffer from the same network issues that the Pokémon GO Fest Chicago event did. Players who participated in the Pokémon GO Park event in Yokohama were able to catch some of the game's rarest monsters, including Mr. Mime, Shiny Pikachu, and Unown. In addition, people who won tickets to the Pokémon GO Stadium event were able to catch the first Mewtwo in the game.

The main Pikachu Outbreak event featured a parade of 100 Pikachu, a Pikachu blimp, and a wide variety of Pikachu decorations. A "Water Carnival" as well as boats and buses full of Pikachu were more parts of the festivities. The free event offered Pikachu merchandise for sale to attendees.

To deal with all the aspects of the massive event, organizers hired about 3,000 people on the security staff, more than double the number hired last year. However, they were still unable to prevent issues related to human and vehicle congestion in the area. Police cars patrolling for lost children were unable to move, so officers had to search on foot. Certain city buses were two hours late, which is very unusual for Japan, so personnel had to be dispatched to aid the situation. A city official said the event overall had good and bad points, so they want to develop new countermeasures for future events.

Source: Kanagawa Shimbun

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