USJ plans to open new theme park in Okinawa


The chief executive officer of the operator of Universal Studios Japan said Wednesday it plans to open a new theme park in Okinawa, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan, to expand its entertainment business in Asia.

USJ Co. CEO Glenn Gumpel said the company will build a large-scale park, though it will not be as big as the Universal Studios that it runs in Osaka. It will be a park that fits the ambience of Okinawa, not based on movies or television programs, he told reporters in Osaka.

Gumpel stopped short of commenting on where and when it will be built.

Nago in the northern part of the prefecture is considered one possible location, as the company has conducted a feasibility study there several times.

The plan comes after USJ said last year that it plans to open one or more new theme parks by 2020 in Japan and other Asian countries. The Kyushu and Okinawa areas as well as Jakarta, Mumbai and Taiwan are among the potential sites.

Currently, the only Universal Studios theme park in Asia outside Japan is in Singapore.

Japan’s top government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, welcomed the decision by saying the new park will “have an extremely big impact on the promotion of Okinawa.”

USJ has been considering relisting on the Tokyo Stock Exchange to raise funds needed to build the new theme park, sources close to the matter have said.

Gumpel said only that his company has yet to firm up such a plan.