Gulliver’s Kingdom finally finds a buyer

KOFU, Yamanashi Pref. — Fuji Gulliver’s Kingdom, a failed theme park at the foot of Mount Fuji, was finally auctioned off Thursday to a resort company for 1.48 billion yen, following two unsuccessful rounds since its collapse a year ago.

The theme park opened in 1997 in Kamikuishiki, Yamanashi Prefecture — a village that gained unsolicited notoriety in the mid-1990s as Aum Shinrikyo’s main base.

Featuring a 45-meter-long statue of the Jonathan Swift character, it was hoped the theme park would help dispel the village’s negative image stemming from the cult’s crimes.

However, Gulliver’s Kingdom shut down in October 2001 after Niigata Chuo Bank, a Niigata-based regional bank and the main creditor of the park’s operator, Fuji Chuo group, collapsed under the weight of nonperforming loans.

As part of the bank’s liquidation procedures, the theme park was put up for auction by the Kofu District Court. However, nobody emerged to bid for the park in two previous rounds of auction.

In the third auction held Thursday, the minimum bid price was lowered to 1.26 billion yen — less than half the 3.1 billion yen in the first round.

Even then, the successful bidder, Takagi Resort, was the only participant.

The court is expected to authorize the deal after a screening procedure late next week. If no complaint is filed from interested parties for a week after that, the park’s sale will become final.