Expoland was thriving for more than 30 years but changed in 2007 with a single, tragic incident.

After that it was never the same. It struggled to attract patrons, became a wasteland frequented by photographers fascinated with abandoned places and only recently showed signs of life again.

Built in 1970, the park covered 20 hectares in Osaka and became one of the most popular destinations in Japan for thrillseekers.

When the park reopened, nobody came. Less than two years later, it closed for good. The park's fortunes were captured in a single quote from a spokesman. Photo / YouTube
When the park reopened, nobody came. Less than two years later, it closed for good. The park's fortunes were captured in a single quote from a spokesman. Photo / YouTube

More than 20 years after the park opened, passengers took the first ride on the Fujin Raijin II, a six-car rollercoaster that travelled along more than a kilometre of track, twisting and turning at speeds in excess of 120km/h.

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It was a huge success and operated without issue for 15 years. Then, on May 5, 2007, it derailed, tossing passengers off the track and claiming the life of a 19-year-old woman.

Yoshino Kogowara died instantly when her head struck a guardrail. Eighteen others were injured.

Expoland closed briefly as investigators pored over every inch of the track and eventually found fault in an axle that had not been replaced in 15 years.

Operators said the axle should have been checked routinely, as it was every year, but an inspection scheduled for February that year was not completed.

When the park reopened, nobody came. Less than two years later, it closed for good. The park's fortunes were captured in a single quote from a spokesman.

He told The Japan Times: "We couldn't regain the people's trust".

He said it was difficult to secure a corporate sponsor that wished to be linked to the park after the incident.

Three employees at the park were charged with professional negligence resulting in death and injury and falsely claiming the park conducted regular checks on the roller coaster. They were found guilty on all charges.

The rollercoaster was pulled down, and photographers took their chance to capture the once-popular playground in all its emptiness.

In late 2015, six long years after it closed, Expoland reopened without hair-raising rides. Now, its drawing cards are a giant ferris wheel and a burgeoning retail and entertainment precinct.

On Thursday, a day after four people died when a carriage flipped on the Thunder River Rapids ride at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast, tourism operators were in damage control, trying to avoid a situation like Expoland's.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate were doing everything they could to convince visitors to continue to frequent Dreamworld.

Rescue personnel stand by the Thunder River Rapids ride at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast, Australia. Photo / AP
Rescue personnel stand by the Thunder River Rapids ride at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast, Australia. Photo / AP

"Dreamworld has been operating for many decades in this state, it is iconic on the Gold Coast and iconic to the rest of the world," Ms Palaszczuk told ABC radio.

Asked about the deaths of the four passengers - now identified as Kate Goodchild, 32, her brother Luke Dorsett, his partner Roozi Araghi and New Zealander Cindy Low - Mr Tate quickly moved the subject back to the park's ongoing success.

"It's essential to have the coroner's report findings and to build confidence back ... It's very important so we can move on and help support the theme park and get it back to the point where people have the confidence to come and have those wonderful memories again."

On Dreamworld's website, a sombre message has been positioned in place of pictures of children and families enjoying a day at the park.

It reads: "Dreamworld is currently closed until further notice due to an incident at the park. We are deeply shocked and saddened by the incident; our hearts and thoughts go out to the families involved and their loved ones."

The effects will be felt forever. In Japan, after Yoshino's death, her mother spoke of her fury against those responsible.

#解体 ? #expoland たまたま偶然横を通過

A post shared by Takenori Sato (@pen_gram) on

"I don't forgive Expoland because it betrayed my daughter and other people who only wanted to have fun," Miyoko Kogawara said.

Dreamworld was scheduled to open for a memorial day today, with proceeds going to the Red Cross, but these plans have been shelved after criticisms as Queensland Police continue their investigations into how four people died on the Thunder River Rapids ride on Tuesday. It's not clear whether plans are for this ride to open again in future.

Queensland Police said they will investigate thoroughly. Dreamworld CEO Craig Davidson said park staff were "deeply shocked and saddened" by the tragedy and "our hearts and thoughts go to the families involved and their loved ones".