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Along for the ride

Universal Studios Japan unveils 11 sponsors

TOKYO — Universal Studios Japan unveiled Friday the 11 companies that will sponsor its first theme park, U’s first outside the U.S. Included are a few firms that already sponsor attractions at Tokyo Disneyland.

The Universal theme park will open in Osaka in 2001 and Universal said it expects to raise 40 billion-50 billion yen ($333 million-$416 million) from its corporate sponsors.

Sponsors

The 11 companies are: All Nippon Airways, Asahi Breweries, Fuji Photo Film, Itoham Foods Inc., Kinki Coca-Cola Bottling, Coca-Cola (Japan), Kirin Brewery, Matsushita Electric Industrial, Nippon Life Insurance, Suntory, and Ueshima Coffee. Coke Japan and Nippon Life are among the firms that already sponsor attractions at Tokyo Disneyland, the most visited theme park in the world.

Restoring Osaka’s economy

Norman J.T. Elder, USJ’s director and general manager, said the park will help restore the economy in the Osaka area, one of the regions hardest hit during Japan’s recent recession.

The park is being built for an estimated $1.41 billion and will have 18 attractions, and 45 food-service and retail facilities.

According to estimates, the Osaka site will attract some 8 million visitors annually. By comparison, the Orlando (Fla.) Universal park, with 20 attractions, saw attendance of 8.4 million in 1996.

Many of the attractions from the U.S. parks will be exported to Japan, such as the Jurassic Park and Back to the Future rides.

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