USJ plans for Okinawa theme park take shape

Universal Studios Japan is advancing its plans to open a new theme park on Okinawa, its second in Japan.

The company is reportedly planning to spend about ¥60 billion ($497 million) to build a theme park on Okinawa, according to sources familiar with the matter. The plans call for opening the USJ Okinawa theme park by spring 2020 within the government owned Ocean Expo Park in Motobu.

The theme park would feature rides and attractions reflecting Okinawa’s blue ocean and bright sun, and it would also have hotels, restaurants and shops. USJ expects that the location next to the Ocean Expo Park and the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium would help it to achieve a goal of more than 6 million visitor per year within five years after opening. The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium received 3.23 million visitors in 2014.

USJ estimates the park and adjacent new hotels and shops to create about 20,000 jobs and a total of ¥1.7 trillion in revenue to the local economy in 10 years.

In order to be able to build the facility, USJ would have to obtain an exception to current regulations that do not allow business enterprises to build their own commercial facilities inside a government owned park. However, the government has a special zone program that allows exceptions. The Okinawa Prefecture Government has agreed to submit a request to the central government in Tokyo to establish such a special zone in the Expo Park.

10:29 25 Oct , 2016