A government-backed project to build a Universal Studios theme park in Okinawa Prefecture may be put on ice due to concerns over its profitability under the operator’s new management, sources said.
Originally proposed last March by Osaka-based USJ Co., the large-scale project aimed to build a Universal Studios theme park in the prefecture, likely on the grounds of Ocean Expo Park, a national government park in Motobu that hosts the famed Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium.
The park would showcase the abundant and diverse nature of Okinawa, with an anticipated opening date of around 2020.
However, things have changed since U.S. media giant Comcast Corp. acquired the operating company last November.
With USJ now steered by CEO J.L. Bonnier, previously of Comcast, the parent company is apparently concerned about the project’s financial viability. The executives will assess the return on the investment of building a Universal Studios Okinawa and decide whether to back out.
Bonnier had said in a news conference on Feb. 1 that he could not yet comment on the Okinawa theme park because the project team was in discussions within the company.
The central government has been supporting the project to help revitalize the local economy, with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga inspecting the candidate site in Motobu last August.