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Moomin theme park to begin full-scale operation in Japan in 2019

Hanno Mayor Masaru Okubo, second from left, and FinTech Global President Nobumitsu Tamai, center, are pictured along with Moomins at a news conference to announce the theme park at The Prince Park Tower Tokyo in the capital on Dec. 6, 2016. (Mainichi)

A theme park based on the Moomins, a collection of popular characters created by Swedish-speaking Finnish writer Tove Jansson, is set to open in the Saitama Prefecture city of Hanno in stages between 2018 and 2019, Tokyo-based investment bank FinTech Global Inc. announced on Dec. 6.

    The park will be named Metsa, which means "forest" in Finnish. In the autumn of 2018, a facility in which people can experience the lifestyle of northern Europe will open at the park as "Metsa Village." In the spring of the following year, a Metsa facility called "Moomin Valley Park" will be launched, marking the theme park's grand opening.

    The total project cost of what will be Japan's first Moomin-themed park is expected to reach about 15 billion yen. Construction is due to start next spring. About 15.8 hectares of the site, which spans roughly 25.7 hectares, will be developed, while the remainder will be left in a natural state.

    The Village's function as a nature park will be maintained, while markets selling local agricultural and craft products will also be set up, along with eateries, an accommodation facility with saunas in each room, and a space to hold events.

    The Valley Park will include a replica of the house where the Moomins live and other attractions through which they can relive the characters' stories. A lighthouse and bathing house that appear in the stories will also be built, and officials plan to set up a gift shop and restaurant, among other facilities. Some 1 million visitors are expected to visit the facility annually.

    FinTech Global President and CEO Nobumitsu Tamai commented at a news conference on Dec. 6, "I want to create a new style of local vitalization together with the area."

    Hanno Mayor Masaru Okubo, who attended the news conference, voiced hope for the facility's success.

    "We hope that Metsa will be a source of joy not just throughout Japan but across the world," he said.

    A map of the Metsa theme park is pictured in this image provided by FinTech Global.

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