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Hankyu to withdraw from amusement park businesses.

OSAKA, April 9 Kyodo

Hankyu Corp. said Tuesday it will withdraw from amusement park businesses as the number of visitors to its amusement parks in the Kansai area sharply fell amid declining child birthrates and fierce competition with Universal Studio Japan (USJ) in Osaka.

The Osaka-based railway operator said it will close Takarazuka Family Land in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture, by late August next year and stop managing Kobe Portopia Land in Kobe on March 31 next year.

''It will be difficult to continue these businesses'' as the two amusement parks have incurred losses of 2-3 billion yen a year since fiscal 1996, Hankyu President Taro Ohashi told a news conference.

''Both parks target young people. But we share the same target as USJ,'' a Hollywood movie theme park that opened in March 2001, Ohashi said.

Takarazuka Family Land, which opened in 1911, drew 2.52 million visitors a year in fiscal 1974, but the figure fell to 1.11 million in fiscal 2001.

Ohashi said Hankyu will begin closing facilities in the park in April next year. The park, which measures 115,000 square meters, will be transformed into a shopping center and garden.

The number of visitors to Portopia Land fell in fiscal 2001 by less than one-third from the peak period. The number of visitors to the park has been falling since the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake that hit Kobe and neighboring areas.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Apr 15, 2002
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