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Pokémon Go postpones release of new Pikachu in Japan

"Due to recent developments."

Pokémon Go will no longer release a special edition Pikachu for the Japanese tourism hotspot of Okinawa on 22nd July.

The special shirted Pikachu was due to be the game's first regional costumed creature - with more suggested to be on the way.

But developer Niantic has now issued an update to say the release will no longer occur - "due to recent developments".

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Last week, fears over a new rise in Japanese Covid cases forced organisers of the Tokyo Olympics to decide to hold the event behind closed doors.

Ticket holders will be refunded, though the decision has sparked criticism for coming so late - just 10 days before the Games' opening ceremony.

Pikachu wearing a kariyushi shirt typical of Okinawa was designed as part of Pokémon Air Adventures - a new promotion meant to boost tourism and air travel to the Okinawa islands, which included a freshly-designed plane with Pokémon livery.

It's unclear if the rest of the promotion will go ahead, or when it might be rescheduled for.

Pokémon Go itself recently sparked criticism for discussing how the game would adapt in parts of the world currently recovering from the pandemic. Those plans have not changed yet, though will only be rolled out on a country-by-country basis.