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WELCOME TO MOVIE WORLD:
Universal Studios Comes to Japan
March 9, 2001
Great Expectations as a Tourist Draw
Of the park's 18 attractions, five are original to Japan. At Universal Studios Motion Picture Magic, for example, the latest production technology and other movie-making magic is presented on screen through the story of the Universal Studios movie company. Commentary is by Steven Spielberg, who reveals some of the secrets of movie making. Animation Celebration, meanwhile, features some of Universal Studios' popular cartoon characters appearing on a 3-D screen, giving visitors the sensation of experiencing high-tech Hollywood special effects for real. At night, Hollywood Magic--a spectacular laser, water, and fireworks show--lights up the lake in the center of USJ.
Universal Studios Japan is expected to draw tourists not only from within Japan but from other Asian countries as well. During its first fiscal year of operation, the park will draw an estimated 8 million visitors. According to a travel agency that deals with school trips, many schools have changed their class trip destinations from their usual places to Osaka for the express purpose of visiting Universal Studios Japan. According to one preliminary calculation, the theme park will inject some 277 billion yen (2.41 billion U.S. dollars at 115 yen to the dollar), including transportation and lodging fees, into the economy during its first year of operation.
The Tourism Department of Osaka City's Economic Affairs Bureau is using the opening of the new theme park as an opportunity to promote the city's previously existing attractions as well. The department plans to issue single-day excursion passes covering subway travel and admission to landmarks such as Osaka Castle and Tsutenkaku tower, as well as set up a tourist information center by Universal City Station. Some locals are showing an interest not only in attracting tourists to Osaka, but also in using the cinematic element to try to entice companies to move to the area. The Osaka Industrial Association is spreading the word that it wants to use the opening of Universal Studios Japan to attract film- and video-related venture firms to the area.
As a true theme park of the twenty-first century, Universal Studios Japan will have water-saving measures in place and will enthusiastically implement trash recycling and other environmental programs. Not only in terms of crowd-drawing power but also in terms of environmental soundness, Universal Studios Japan is hoped to serve as a model for sustainable theme parks of the future.
Copyright (c) 2001 Japan Information Network. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.