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Universal Studios Japan looks to Okinawa for expansion
Julian Ryall, Tokyo, March 23, 2015

UNIVERSAL Studios Japan (USJ) is planning to open a sister park in Okinawa, in what is likely to be the first of more theme parks to come in Asia.


The new park was announced by Glenn Gumpel, CEO of USJ, who said it will reflect the prefecture's sub-tropical environment rather than being based on films and TV programmes.


“We are doing the research and planning at the moment but it is too early for any figures or dates to be mentioned yet,” Johta Takahashi, a spokesman for USJ, told TTG Asia e-Daily.


“The company is in discussions with the prefecture for the project and no location on Okinawa has been decided,” Takahashi said.


There are suggestions that a site near Nago, in the north, might have been earmarked for the park as officials have visited the site at least three times.


Looking ahead, USJ said last year that it was considering opening at least one and possibly two new theme parks in Asia by 2020, with Jakarta, Mumbai and Taiwan mentioned as possible locations.


The USJ theme park in Osaka is estimated to have attracted more than 12 million visitors for 2014, beating its previous record high of 11 million visitors in 2001, the year the park opened.


Its most popular attraction has been the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which opened in April last year, building on the success of rides such as Jaws, Spider Man and Jurassic Park.

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