Pokemon GO
Image: The Pokemon Company / Niantic

Japan is currently struggling to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, having recently taken the difficult decision to hold the already-delayed 2020 Olympics behind closed doors – and there's more bad news on the way (for those who like catching Pocket Monsters on their phones, at least).

Pokémon GO developer Niantic has announced that the release of a special edition Pikachu for the Japanese tourism trap of Okinawa has now been postponed due to the alarming rise in coronavirus cases.

The Pikachu – bedecked in a cool 'kariyushi' shirt from Okinawa – was due for release on 22nd July, and was expected to be the first of many costumed monsters for the region.

Here's the statement:

Due to recent developments, we will be postponing the Pokémon Air Adventures collaboration that was scheduled to begin on Thursday, July 22, 2021. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes. We will share more information once details are finalized.

The release of the special Pikachu was going to be part of Pokémon Air Adventures, "an initiative started in Japan that helps create wonderful travel memories."

[source eurogamer.net]