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Pokemon GO has gone home to Japan

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By Catherine Hardy with Reuters, AP
Pokemon GO has gone home to Japan
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  • Pokemon GO launches in Japan
  • Tie-in with Mcdonald’s restaurants
  • Government issues safety guidelines

Pokemon GO has gone home.

The game is just as I imagined it would be, it's really fun. It's also a great reason to go outside, so I'm really enjoying it

Nintendo’s record-breaking global mobile game has launched in Japan – the home of the Pokemon characters.

Japan, one of the world’s biggest gaming markets, joins the US, Canada, Australia and more than 30 other countries in Europe to offer the “augmented reality” game.

Fans have taken to the streets to play the game after its much-anticipated release, which comes more than two weeks after other countries.

What is Pokemon GO?

After downloading the app, players use their smartphones to interact with virtual characters in the real world.

Safety warning

The Japanese government has issued a safety warning.

Nine guidelines have been issued for those playing the game, ranging from advising gamers not to use their real name to warning about heat stroke in the muggy weather.

There have been reports of accidents and thefts of smartphones involving users playing the game.

The business

Nintendo shares climbed more than four percent in Tokyo trading on Friday, while shares of Mcdonald’s Japan surged 7.2 percent.

Mcdonald’s Holdings Co Japan participated in the launch. The company’s 3,000 outlets serve as “spots” where Pokemon can be “battled” or “trained”.

The game was created by Nintendo, Niantic and Pokemon Co. Nintendo owns a third of Pokemon Co while both companies have undisclosed stakes in Niantic.

What they are saying

“The game is just as I imagined it would be, it’s really fun. It’s also a great reason to go outside, so I’m really enjoying it,” – 18-year-old Pokemon GO player Toshinori Ishibashi

“I want to play this game extensively, but I also hear incidents related to it, so I’m a bit afraid. But it’s Japan, so it’s peaceful and I doubt there will be lots of incidents,” – 21-year-old student Sumiya Masukawa

“I am personally careful about walking and using my smartphone, but I saw someone at the train station earlier walking while using their phone, so I thought that was dangerous,” – Tokyo resident Maho Ishikawa