A man was sentenced to 30 months in prison Thursday for causing the death of a woman in Kasugai, Aichi Prefecture, last August while playing "Pokemon Go" as he was driving.
The Nagoya District Court ruled that 27-year-old Yusuke Okuyama from Toki in neighboring Gifu Prefecture was giving his attention to his smartphone when his car hit the 29-year-old Vietnamese woman, who was riding a bicycle over a pedestrian crossing. She died two weeks later.
Citing evidence showing that Okuyama's car had crossed into the opposite lane, Judge Satoko Shotokuji said that although he was not touching the smartphone screen at the time of accident, "his attention was evidently directed to a smartphone rather than driving."
According to the ruling and other sources, Okuyama hit the woman as he was trying to plug a charging cord into his smartphone, whose battery was running low at the time. The Aug. 11, 2016, accident was the second fatal accident in Japan since the release of the popular augmented reality game the previous month.
A number of traffic accidents have occurred since the game's release. The game encourages users to visit locations in search of virtual creatures that appear superimposed on smartphone screens, a feature critics say leads to many users paying insufficient attention to their surroundings.