OSAKA--Universal Studios Japan, a hugely popular Hollywood movie theme park here, is now so crimped for space its operator is looking to develop new sites domestically or abroad.
USJ Co., based in Osaka’s Konohana Ward, said its decision stemmed from the fact the current site is surrounded by factories and other buildings that would make enlarging the park difficult.
The park has been dealing with brisk crowd levels. Additional facilities would ease congestion and help achieve further growth.
USJ has already chosen four or five candidate sites, which would be equal in size to the Osaka park, and is currently negotiating with local companies that could become business partners.
According to USJ sources, one of the candidate sites is in Japan.
“It will be an area other than the Kansai region (where Universal Studios Japan is located) or the Kanto region where Tokyo Disney Resort is located,” one of the sources said.
This suggests the area will be in the Tohoku region or the Kyushu region, including Okinawa Prefecture.
As for overseas candidate sites, the source said, “They will be in urban areas (of Asia) that have large populations and rising income levels.”
Taipei in Taiwan, Jakarta in Indonesia, and Mumbai in India are reportedly among the possible spots.
At present, there are three other Universal Studios in the world besides Osaka. They are located in Orlando and Hollywood, both in the United States, and Singapore.
By the end of this fiscal year, the number of visitors to Universal Studios Japan is expected to reach 10.5 million.
It will be the first time for visitor numbers to exceed 10 million since fiscal 2001, the park’s first year of operation.
(This article was written by Hisashi Naito and Kazuhito Suwa.)
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