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ELVIS PARK PLANNED IN JAPAN

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 7 1991 12:00 a.m. MDT

Plans are under way to build an $80 million Elvistown USA theme park in Tokyo, an official of Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc. said Tuesday.

The theme park in Japan is one of four major projects the company is pursuing, Jack Soden, Graceland executive director and chief exective officer of Elvis Presley Enterprises, told the Memphis Rotary Club. The features, including work in Memphis, are expected to be completed by 1994, Soden said.Other projects: expanding and relocating the Graceland museum of Presley memorabilia; developing a fine arts exhibit of Presley portraits from throughout the country and producing a traveling exhibit.

The plans are part of efforts to diversify Elvis Presley Enterprises' interests, Soden said. He would not estimate how much money the projects could mean for the Presley estate, which opened Graceland, Elvis' mansion, to tours in 1982.

Soden said the Elvistown USA project, begun two years ago, was prompted by the singer's immense popularity in Japan. Japanese businessmen approached Graceland officials with several ideas, including building a duplicate of Graceland in Japan, he said.

Financing is being arranged by the Japanese Development Bank.

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