The opening of the first-ever Super Mario theme park has been delayed again as Japan battles a surge in COVID-19 cases, Universal Studios Japan said yesterday.
Nintendo Co’s long-awaited foray into amusement parks was originally set to open in July last year ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games. Like the Games, its launch was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a new date set for Feb. 4.
Featuring a real-life Bowser’s Castle and an interactive Mario Kart ride, the attraction, part of the existing Universal Studio’s theme park in the western city of Osaka, had been expected to draw huge crowds.
After the Japanese government this week extended a COVID-19 state of emergency to Osaka to stem a surge in cases, the company decided to postpone the opening for the second time.
“We sincerely apologize for the trouble caused to guests ... who were looking forward to the opening. The opening date will be decided and announced after the state of emergency is lifted,” the company said.
While Japan’s outbreak remains comparatively small, health experts say that hospitals are under heavy strain in the worst-affected areas.
The emergency declaration, in place in 11 of the country’s 47 prefectures, lasts until Feb. 7.
It asks restaurants and bars to close early, with residents urged to avoid unnecessary outings and working from home strongly encouraged.
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