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Quebec Official Eyes French Pokemon

December 10, 1999

TORONTO (AP) _ The culture minister of Quebec has warned producers of Pokemon and other games to provide French-language versions or face possible fines.

Louise Beaudoin said the failure to offer a French version of the popular products violated Quebec’s language laws. She said the packaging, instructions and guarantees that come with the games were only in English.

``That must stop, and fast,″ Beaudoin said Thursday, citing 400 consumer complaints.

More than 80 percent of Quebec’s population considers French their first language, and the province has strict language regulations as part of an effort by Francophone Canadians to protect their culture.

Violators can be fined about $1,000 for a first offense and up to $4,800 for subsequent offenses.

The National Post newspaper reported Friday that a spokesperson for the Renton, Wash.-based Wizards of the Coast, which manufactures Pokemon cards in North America, said French-language Pokemon cards would be available in February.

Jenny Bendel of Wizards of the Coast was quoted as saying the game originated in Japanese, and the company recently began offering a French-language version in France. More French-language cards would be printed and sent to Canada, she said.

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