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World's No. 2 tower in Japan shows off views

World's No. 2 tower in Japan shows off views

April 18th, 2012 in News

TOKYO (AP) - A Tokyo developer took visitors up the world's tallest freestanding broadcast structure on Tuesday, a 2,080-foot tower with special technology meant to withstand earthquakes that often strike Japan.

The Tokyo Skytree is the world's second-tallest structure behind the 2,717-foot Burj Khalifa in Dubai, according to owner Tobu Tower Skytree Co.

The needle-like radio and television tower opens to the public on May 22.

Journalists given a tour Tuesday saw sweeping if hazy views of the Tokyo skyline.

It took about 50 seconds in a high-speed elevator Tuesday to zip up to the lower observation deck at 1,148 feet, and another 30 seconds to reach the higher deck at 1,476 feet.

The Skytree has a restaurant and two cafes on the observation decks, a vertigo-inducing glass floor that allows visitors to look straight down, and an emergency staircase with 2,523 steps.

The tower was constructed with extremely strong steel tubes surrounding a central concrete column that are structurally separate from each other in the tower's mid-section. In the event of an earthquake, the concrete core and steel frame are designed to offset each other to reduce the building's overall motion.