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TOKYO – Universal Studios Japan plans to build a new theme park in Okinawa, USJ president Glenn Gumpel announced.
 
Details, including when the park will open, are still undecided, but USJ plans to build in the vicinity of Neo Park Okinawa, a zoo where animals live in natural habitats, in Nago, the island’s second-largest city.
 
Gumpel said that the projected park will be smaller than USJ in Osaka and Tokyo Disneyland, and use Okinawa, not Hollywood movies content, for inspiration.
 
Known for its distinctive culture and cuisine, as well as its mild semi-tropical climate, Okinawa is trying to sell itself as an Asian tourist destination. Development of the leisure industry, however, has been slowed by a massive US military presence, with more than half of the US bases in Japan sited on the island.

A plan to relocate the US Futenma airfield to an offshore site in Nago’s Henoko coastal district has become an electoral issue and led to protests from residents, who claim the construction work will damage the environment.