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A girl poses with Pikachu for photos during a Pokemon festival in Tokyo, Monday, July 18, 2016. The summer event marking the release of the latest movie of Pokemon is held until the end of August. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
AP Photo/Koji Sasahara
The birthplace of Pokémon.
WHERE IT ALL STARTED

Pokémon Go is coming to Japan, the ancestral homeland of Pokémon

By Alice Truong

Get ready for the Pokémon Go craze to go to the next level.

TechCrunch reports that the smash-hit app will launch in Japan on July 20.

While nostalgia is fueling the popularity of Pokémon Go all over the world, Japan, in contrast, never stopped loving these pocket monsters. Even the release of Pokémon’s Game Boy titles spur hours-long queues in Tokyo, akin to the lines outside Apple stores when there’s a new iPhone.

Since the launch of Pokémon Go, Nintendo’s share price has more than doubled, and Morgan Stanley believes the game’s release in Japan will further rally the stock, according to a July 11 report. The Pokémon effect isn’t confined to Nintendo, which is a part owner of the Pokémon Company. Shares in McDonald’s Holdings in Japan, for example, jumped 23% after the fast-food chain added Pokémon toys to its Happy Meals. Coinciding with the launch in Japan, the company will also be the first advertiser to sponsor a location, reports TechCrunch.

The only reason Pokémon Go hasn’t made its way to Japan yet is because Niantic, which developed the game with licensing from the Pokémon Company, has been worried its servers won’t be able to handle it. Recall that when Pokémon Go launched in the US, Australia, and New Zealand three weeks ago, the game was crippled by server problems, repeatedly crashing or failing to load for users.

Here’s hoping Niantic will be fully prepared for the Poké-madness in Japan tomorrow. If fans are willing to wait in lines, there’s no doubt they’ll be rushing to download the game as soon as it’s available.