Tallest Broadcast Tower Tokyo's Latest Claim to Fame

AP Photo

A transmission tower under construction in Tokyo that has just become the world's tallest freestanding broadcast structure is expected to become the subject of many tourist photos and visits in the capital city.

The Tokyo Sky Tree project claimed the title of "world's tallest broadcast tower" when the structure reached 1,971 feet, just surpassing another tower in China, owners said yesterday.

When complete later this year, the tower will stand 2,080 feet. With shops, restaurants and other entertainment amenities housed below, the tower is expected to become a new tourist destination in Tokyo.

Award-winning Japanese architect Tadao Ando and sculptor Kiichi Sumikawa designed the triangular, silver tower. The structure is being built by Japan's six top broadcasters to replace a 1,090-foot tower built in 1958, and is expected to bolster television and radio transmissions in the capital and surrounding region.

The previous broadcast tower to claim the title was the Canton Tower in China's southwestern city of Guangzhou, which reached 1,968 feet.

"It's nice to be the world's No. 1, but it's just a passing mark," says spokesman Hirotake Takanashi.

The old Tokyo Tower, a white-and-orange Eiffel Tower-inspired lattice structure, is one of the city's most visible landmarks. About 3 million tourists visit the museums, restaurants and shops that are located in a four-story building located directly underneath the Tokyo Tower each year.

The new tower stands in Tokyo's Sumida district, a riverside area known for its old downtown ambiance. Takanashi says construction of the remaining 98 feet is a "critical phase" that involves installation of a digital antenna.

Photos: AP

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