Daiei unit gives up rights to Kanagawa monorail

Struggling retail giant Daiei Inc. said Wednesday its wholly owned unit has abandoned its rights to a closed monorail line in Kanagawa Prefecture that has not operated for 35 years.

The line was launched in 1966 to run between East Japan Railway’s Ofuna Station in the Yokohama suburb of Kamakura and Yokohama Dreamland amusement park, but was shut down in 1967 due to structural problems.

In 1982, Dream Kaihatsu, a wholly owned unit of Daiei, took over the right to operate the line from a group firm of then Nippon Dream Kanko Co., an amusement service company whose businesses were absorbed by Daiei in 1993.

Dream Kaihatsu had planned to reopen the line, according to Daiei. The line at present is only partially standing near Ofuna Station. That section, rusting and with apparently decrepit concrete supports, stops abruptly several hundred meters short of the terminal.

Further changes in the business environment, including the closure of Yokohama Dreamland last February, prompted Daiei to abandon the project, it said.

Yokohama Dreamland, originally developed by the Nippon Dream Kanko group, was operated by a Daiei group firm after the absorption of Nippon Dream Kanko businesses.

Daiei, struggling to slash its massive group liabilities accumulated as a result of aggressive business expansion during the speculative bubble economy period in the late 1980s and early 1990s, has recently received a massive bailout package from three of its main lenders.

Daiei said it has notified the Yokohama Municipal Government of its decision to abandon the monorail operation.