Theme park criticized over frozen fish in rink to close at end of 2017 National Dec. 17, 2016 FUKUOKA
An amusement park in southwestern Japan that sparked a flood of criticism for using thousands of frozen fish in an ice rink said Friday it will be closing at the end of 2017.
Space World in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture, closed the skating rink last month after people complained about its attraction in which around 5,000 fish purchased from a market were embedded in the ice to give the impression of skating on the sea. An online rumor at the time claimed the fish had been frozen alive.
The theme park, which opened in April 1990 on an unused lot of the Yawata steelworks, did not specify the reason for the closure.
It had 2.16 million visitors at its peak in fiscal 1997, but the number of visitors has dwindled recently.
“We will be closing on the last day of December 2017 for various reasons,” the park said on its website. “We thank you for your patronage for such a long time.”
Space World informed the Kitakyushu city government of its closure plan on Thursday, municipal officials said.
The city held talks the same day with Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp., the landowner of the facility, about future plans for the 240,000-square-meter site.
Nippon Steel promised to seek a tenant for the land taking the promotion of the local economy into consideration, the officials said.
Both Kitakyushu Mayor Kenji Kitahashi and Fukuoka Gov. Hiroshi Ogawa expressed concern about the closure’s effect on the local economy.
Space World “has led the tourism industry as a symbol of the city,” Kitahashi said in a statement. “It is truly regrettable,” he said.
Resort operator Kamori Kanko Co. based in Sapporo, northern Japan, has been running the theme park.
A subsidiary of then Nippon Steel Corp. filed for court protection from creditors in May 2005 and handed over the management rights of the park to Kamori Kanko in July that year.
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I'd been planning to get to Japan for many years now, but have been putting it off for various different reasons. But considering how Space World is one of the parks I was planning on visiting, this'll probably get me to stop procrastinating and just go next year so that I'll get to go.
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