All About Japan

Government Safety Guide for Pokémon Go

Gaming Pokémon

The National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity (NISC) is a Japanese cabinet office dedicated to developing strategies and policies for the cybersecurity of government ministries and agencies. Whenever Japan interacts with other countries on cybersecurity matters, this is the agency that’s involved.

Pokémon Go Safety Guide

Pokémon Go Safety Guide

Pokémon Go has become an instant hit in Japan. But even before its release here, the game had already attracted some negative attention for people playing while in dangerous situations like walking across streets without looking, playing while driving, and entering off-limits areas.

The NISC is doing what it can to make sure trainers play as safely as possible to protect not only Pokémon Go players, but also the people around them, and released a list of helpful tips. If you can’t read Japanese, the key points are translated below! (On an unrelated note, doesn’t the guy at the top left look like Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop?)

1. Protect your identity and don’t give away your location.
You don’t want people to find out who you are or where you live, so use a nickname that people can’t identify you with. If you want to take pictures in the game, avoid taking pictures of locations near where you live, and don’t use GPS when you post them.

2. Avoid any unofficial applications.
With a game this popular, there are guaranteed to be hackers trying to take advantage of it. There will be unofficial apps and cheat tools that might have hidden malware that will put you and your phone’s security at risk. Only use official apps from your phone’s app store.

3. You’ll be outside a lot, so have a weather app as well.
This game will have you running outside a lot to find different Pokémon. As a result, it’s helpful to have an app that will alert you of any danger like earthquakes and tsunami. (Yurekuru Call is a popular one: Apple/Android)

4. Pay attention to warning signs of heatstroke.
Japanese summers can be brutal, so if you’ll be outside a lot, make sure to protect yourself from heatstroke. Warning signs include flushed skin, rapid breathing, racing heart rates, headaches and nausea. Look into it before you go out and be sure to keep hydrated.

5. Don’t get caught with a dead cellphone battery.
Pokémon Go is a battery-intensive game, in part because it uses GPS data. A dead cellphone battery means you might not be able to make a phone call in an emergency situation, so consider keeping a portable power pack on hand to keep it charged.

6. Prepare a backup method of communication.
If your phone runs out of battery life, have a phone card ready so you'll be able to call your family on a public phone in case of emergency, and research how to use it. If you're letting your children go out to play on their own, be sure to take a full-body shot of them before they go. It will help in the search for them if they get lost.

7. Don’t go into dangerous or off-limits areas.
It’s easy to forget when you’re chasing a rare or favorite Pokémon, but don’t go anywhere you wouldn’t normally go! Like the game says when you start it, pay close attention to your surroundings.

8. Don’t meet with strangers.
Strangers who claim they might know where a rare Pokémon is can be monsters in a different sense, so don’t follow or meet with them (especially in unpopular areas).

9. Don’t focus on your phone while you’re walking.
It’s easy to carelessly walk into traffic or into other dangerous situations while you’re focused on your phone, so don’t! Stop and check your phone if you must, but don’t walk while watching your phone. This is important for other people’s safety as much as it is for your own.

There you have it! Being a Pokémon Go master doesn’t just mean completing your Pokédex. Stay safe and have fun!