The operator of Universal Studios Japan said Friday it will start a special campaign to attract young people from outside the Kansai region.

Osaka-based USJ Co. said if groups of three to five students from outside Kansai buy special admission tickets to the amusement park between Feb. 1 and March 31 this year and register, the group will receive one-day entrance passes good for visits over the same two-month period next year.

Students will have to go with the same members they bought the special tickets with to enter the park with the passes in 2018, USJ said.

Called the Best Friends Forever Pass, the special tickets are scheduled to go on sale on Jan. 23 for the price of a regular ticket.

The campaign is aimed at attracting students during the spring break and graduation trip seasons.

To qualify, students must be older than elementary school age and live or study outside the Kansai region comprising Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Nara, Shiga and Wakayama prefectures.

"We can still draw more visitors from outside of the Kansai region," an official of USJ said.

Universal Studios Japan is stepping up efforts to draw more visitors. USJ recently announced plans to invest more than ¥50 billion ($435 million) in a new Nintendo-based attraction scheduled to open in mid-2020.