In 2017, the Nintendo 3DS game Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns was released in North America. In the original Japanese version, Hamtaro was featured as a character - but he was removed in the English release. And a rather peculiar reason was given as to why:
"Sadly, Hamtaro will not be in the North American release of the game. I can’t get into the specifics of why—the reason is more complicated than the usual licensing fee problems you might expect—but I will say that you’ll be hard-pressed to find new, official Hamtaro merchandise on sale in this part of the world. While many remember the character from his TV debut over a decade ago, Hamtaro doesn’t really have an official presence in North America anymore."
What this is saying is that Hamtaro could not be featured due to an extremely complicated copyright issue, which outright bars pretty much *anything* Hamtaro-related from being released in North America. I've been documenting a similar issue on the Pac-Man Wiki, so with my knowledge of these ridiculous cases, I thought I would try to figure out what happened here.
As with any stupid copyright issue like this, no info as to what happened is publicly available. This is intentional; the Japanese Hamtaro company wouldn't want things to get worse (which they easily can), so its best for them to keep quiet about whoever is causing the problem. What most likely happened is that a company that worked on/distributed Hamtaro in America either demands expensive royalty payments every time he's used, sold their Hamtaro rights to someone else (unbeknownst to the original Japanese companies), or both. But that's just a guess, and I honestly have no idea how it got to the point where an entire CONTINENT can't use a fictional character.
None of this matters much anyway, since Hamtaro hasn't had any major new things created in, what, 12 years? But at the same time, this might be the REASON why he doesn't get stuff anymore. If one of the biggest markets for him is off-limits, why even bother? So if some new Hamtaro series randomly appears in Japan, don't expect to see it in English...until Ham-Ham Paradise gets their hands on it, anyway.