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TOKYO — The Tokyo Sky Tree, the city’s new digital broadcast antenna, became the world’s tallest free-standing television tower this week when it overtook China’s 600-meter (1,968.5 feet) Canton Tower.
The Sky Tree will reach 634 meters before it opens next spring, although it will still be dwarfed by the 828-meter Burj Khalifa building in Dubai.
Japan switches over completely to digital broadcasting this July, but radio and television signals are being increasingly impacted by Tokyo’s new skyscrapers, as well as interference from broadcasts in other countries. Only around a fifth of Japanese households receive their television through cable.
The new tower, in Tokyo’s Sumida Ward, is already attracting sightseers and will replace Tokyo Tower — a 333-meter larger-than-the-original copy of the Eiffel Tower — as the main broadcast facility and also a major tourist spot. The Sky Tree has already been featured in anime, manga, TV commercials and video games.
Tobu Railway, the leading company in the 65 billion yen ($793 million) project, expects 2.7 million visitors per year to climb the tower, which is reinforced against earthquakes with foundations that splay out like plant roots. 25 million people are expected to visit the shops and leisure facilities springing up around its base.
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