Tokyo’s Hello Kitty theme park closed for ‘terrorist’ security alert

Police, who investigated the theme park after it received the e-mailed warning, did not find any suspicious objects, public broadcaster NHK reported. - PHOTO: SANRIO PUROLAND/FACEBOOK

TOKYO: A theme park in Tokyo featuring the Hello Kitty character closed on Feb 24 because of an e-mailed “terrorist alert”, the operator said.

Sanrio Puroland in the capital Tokyo is known for its rides, shows and cutesy cartoon mascots including the beloved feline-like heroine.

“We decided to temporarily close for the day because the safety of visitors, performers and staff cannot be guaranteed at the moment,” the indoor theme park said in a message on its website.

“Today, Saturday, February 24, 2024, we received an email threatening terrorism,” it added.

The unspecified threat prompted police to scour Sanrio Puroland for suspicious objects, but none were found, public broadcaster NHK reported.

Authorities were trying to identify the sender of the email, NHK added, citing unnamed police sources.

Hello Kitty, created by Sanrio Co and celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2024, is one of Japan best known cartoon characters.

Sanrio opened the Sanrio Puroland theme park in Tama City, Tokyo in 1990.

The mouthless cat-like figure, used to market everything from plush toys to aircraft, has been deployed by Japan's government to promote tourism and as an ambassador of cute.

The threat against the popular tourist attraction and its closure sparked groans on social media, with one user annoyed it happened during a holiday weekend.

“It’s unforgivable that someone is doing this during a precious three-day weekend!” the user posted on X, formerly Twitter. - REUTERS, AFP

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