TOKYO - It was a bit touch and go for Hiroshima officials, but the atomic bomb memorial park in the western Japanese city is now Pokemon No.
The city had asked the developer of the popular "Pokemon Go'' smartphone game to remove the creatures and sites that appeared in the park by last weekend, when a solemn annual ceremony was held to mark the anniversary of the atomic bombing that killed 140,000 people in the final days of World War II.
The "Pokestops'' and gyms, and the clumps of players that they attract, were gone by last Thursday, but the monsters that gamers try to catch were still popping up. The city sent an email inquiry to game developer Niantic, and got a response at 1:56 a.m. Saturday, just six hours before the start of the ceremony.
"We were so relieved,'' city official Tatsuya Sumida said. "We were worried if those `Pokemon' were really going to go away in time.''
He said city officials expect the monsters will stay away from the park permanently.
"We consider the park a sacred place where we pray for the victims of the atomic bombings,'' he said.
The game has also been removed from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., at the institution's request.