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The Tokyo Skytree, world's tallest tower, opens in Japan

May 23, 2012 |  4:30 am

Tokyoskytree

Thousands of people braved the rain Tuesday to see the Tokyo Skytree, reportedly the world's tallest tower, as it opened to the public.  

Twice the height of the Eiffel Tower, the new tower is recognized as the second tallest structure in the world at 2,080 feet, behind the 2,720-foot high Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. A tower is reportedly considered a different type of structure from a skyscraper because it has far less floor space.

The new broadcast tower is located in eastern Tokyo near the popular tourist area of Asakusa. Parent company Tobu Railway Co. predicted 32 million people will visit the Tokyo Skytree Town commercial complex this year, which includes two observation decks, more than 300 shops and restaurants, an aquarium and a planetarium.

Eight thousand people reportedly got into the observation tower Tuesday to see its 360-degree view of downtown Tokyo.

“It was so good,” 36-year-old Shiho Yanaka told Kyodo News. “We also checked out the floor glass section. It’s really vertigo-inducing, but my kids were enjoying every bit of it.”

The bad weather marred some of the festivities: Strong winds forced operators to shut down the two lifts to the observation decks for half an hour because of safety concerns, Agence France-Presse reported.

Skytree spokesman Maki Yamazaki told AFP that all visitors were later able to return to the lower level once the lift service resumed.

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-- Jung-yoon Choi

Photo: The 2,080-foot-high Tokyo Skytree made its debut amid wet weather in Tokyo. Credit: Franck Robichon / European Pressphoto Agency

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