Confirmed: USJ Co. to build theme park on Okinawa
USJ Co. Chairman and CEO Glenn Gumpel has confirmed the company is planning to open its second theme park in Asia on Okinawa.
The operator of the Universal Studio Japan theme park in Osaka has been in talks with officials of Okinawa Prefecture, Nago City and other municipalities at least since February last year when first press reports about the possible plan surfaced. “USJ is in the very early stages of these plans,” Gumpel said, declining to give any details about the envisioned theme park, including a specific location and opening date.
However, he said that the park would be smaller than their Osaka theme park with a central theme that would not be linked to one of the company’s popular movies like in Osaka.
“We are developing concepts for the new theme park to win support from local communities,” he said at a press conference.
The Okinawa Prefectural Government has been lobbying the company to open its next theme park here. The central government has also pledged to give its support to the plan as part of an overall program of economic development.
In an interview on Jul. 24, with Kyodo News, Gumpel restated his desire to construct a new large theme park in either the Kyushu-Okinawa region or elsewhere in Asia. “We are negotiating with some domestic and foreign cities, and I can assure you that Nago is one of them, but at this moment I cannot say more than that.” Speculation arose that areas under consideration were the Tohoku and Kyushu region that includes Okinawa, and overseas sites including Taipei in Taiwan, Jakarta in Indonesia and Mumbai in India.
According to local reports the USJ has been negotiating with Nago City about purchasing the Nago Neopark and surrounding land to change the facility into a new large-scale theme park with a total area of about 30 hectares.