Mon, Mar 31, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Universal Studios Japan sees visitor numbers plummet

BLOOMBERG , OSAKA, JAPAN

Universal Studios Japan Inc, a movie theme park affiliated with Vivendi Universal SA, will likely attract 30 percent fewer visitors in its second year of operation, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

The amusement park, which opened in March 2001, will likely draw about 7.6 million visitors in the twelve months ending Monday, the paper said on its Web site, without saying where it got the information.

Universal Studios Japan drew about 11 million visitors in its first year. Setbacks, including an order from local health authorities last year to shut down water fountains at the park, are partly to blame for the decline in visitor numbers, the newspaper said.

The theme-park operator has been hurt by negative publicity from a series of other incidents over the last year. Last July, company president Akira Sakata was forced to make a public apology after complaints that food served at the park had exceeded expiration dates.

Universal Studios Japan attracted almost 6.1 million customers in the nine months ended Dec. 31, the company said in a faxed release.

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