Theme Park Might Close

An amusement park in western Japan is about to lose its right to operate.

Kurashiki Tivoli Park, which opened in 1997 in Okayama Prefecture, has a licensing agreement with The Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen that expires in December 2008.

However, officials of the Danish amusement park said July 9 they do not plan to extend it, citing a lack of sufficient investment on the part of the Japanese operators.

Tivoli manager Lars Liebst said in a statement, "For many years we have tried to urge the management [of Kurashiki Tivoli Park] to invest and expand the park because we could already see a few years after it opened that things went in the wrong direction."

According to Liebst, about 3.2 million people visited the Kurashiki park during its first year. In 2006, yearly attendance had dropped to 845,000.

The Danish company said it presented a number of improvement plans over the years, but all were rejected. When more suggestions were turned down this past spring, Tivoli Gardens decided not to extend the current contract, which Liebst said "has no economic significance for Tivoli," a listed company.