U Japan park sets tix prices

$51.40 per ticket, $34.60 kids rate

TOKYO — Ticket prices at the Universal Studios Japan theme park in Osaka, skedded to open next spring, will almost exactly mirror admission charges at Tokyo Disneyland.

The basic ticket price at the Osaka park, Universal’s first overseas venture, will be priced at 5,500 yen ($51.40); the children’s rate is $34.60, a senior citizen’s ticket $44.85. All are the same as those at Tokyo Disneyland.

The Universal Japan park is 85% completed and the park is expecting 8 million visitors in its first year in operation.

Universal faces two major challenges in Japan. The first is attracting tourists to a theme park in Osaka, a commercial and industrial city that loses in the tourist trade to neighboring cities such as Kyoto, Nara and Kobe.

The second will be competition with Tokyo Disneyland, the most visited theme park in the world. The Mouse House is opening DisneySea, a major park adjoining Tokyo Disneyland, in 2001. Attendance at the two parks is expected to be 25 million per year.

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