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Pokémon Go-related car accident kills woman in Japan

The driver was playing the game when he hit and killed one woman and injured another.

Image: AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko

A DRIVER WHO WAS allegedly playing Pokémon Go when he hit and killed a woman in Japan has been arrested, police said Wednesday.

Media said that Tuesday’s incident marked Japan’s first fatal vehicle accident involving the popular gaming app.

Keiji Gooh, a 39-year-old farmer, allegedly struck two women on Tuesday evening on a road in Tokushima city, western Japan, as he played the app while driving, a police spokesman said.

One of the women, aged 72, died while the other, 60, was seriously injured, the spokesman said.

Jiji Press said it was the nation’s first fatal accident involving a driver playing Pokémon Go while at the wheel.

Jiji also said there have been nearly 80 accidents in Japan involving modes of transportation including cars and bicycles since the app was introduced into Japan last month.

Authorities worldwide have issued a slew of warnings since the hugely popular smartphone app was launched in July.

It has already been blamed for a wave of crimes, traffic violations and complaints in cities around the globe.

The free app uses satellite locations, graphics and camera capabilities to overlay cartoon monsters on real-world settings, challenging players to capture and train the creatures for battles.

In a recent update, the makers Niantic Labs added a feature that would prevent you from playing if you travelled faster than walking or running speed. A pop-up would appear advising players not to play while driving, but you can remove it by saying you’re a passenger.

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Pokémon has been popular in Japan since first being launched as software in 1996 for Nintendo’s iconic Game Boy console.

It expanded into other media, most notably a wildly popular TV animation show and its popularity has never waned.

Pokémon Go quickly became a global sensation when it launched, its popularity causing servers to go down regularly as more players tried to connect to it. While it continues to be popular, enthusiasm for the app is beginning to wane.

© – AFP, 2016 with additional reporting from Quinton O’Reilly

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