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Tokyo Skytree, world's tallest tower, opens to public in Japan

Japan's Tokyo Skytree, twice as tall as the Eiffel Tower, was opened to the public on Tuesday.

tokyo skytree 2012 5 23Enlarge
This combo picture, taken on (L-R) October 13, 2009, April 14, 2010, August 17, 2010, December 1, 2010 and May 16, 2012 shows construction progression of the Tokyo Skytree. (JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)

Japan's Tokyo Skytree, a structure twice as tall as the Eiffel Tower, was opened to the public on Tuesday.

Tens of thousands of people lined up in the rain to be among the first people to get a view of the Japanese capital from the 2,080-foot (634-meter) structure, now officially recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's tallest tower, according to CNN.

However, in an unforseen glitch, strong winds forced tower operators to shut down lifts, leaving visitors stuck on a 1,476-foot high observation deck, Agence France-Presse reported.

Events didn't dampen the enthusiasm of one woman, Ayumi Nakazawa, quoted by AFP as saying: "I have long been looking forward to coming here. I can't see the view [because of the rain], but it was exciting." 

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Japan is hoping the tower will boost international visitor numbers in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami, and resulting nuclear crisis last year.

However, the 143 billion yen ($1.8 billion) development also serves as a replacement for the 1,092.5-foot-tall Tokyo Tower — a symbol of Japan's capital rapid post-war growth — as the broadcast hub.

The tower's operator said it was equipped with state-of-art technology to counter the earth tremors that regularly shake Japan, the Associated Press wrote.

Tokyo Skytree is the world's second tallest structure, after Dubai's Burj Khalifa, which stands at 2,717 feet tall.

In Guinness tower category, the Skytree's closest height competitor is the Canton Tower in China, which is 1,968.5 feet tall.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/japan/120523/japan-tokyo-skytree-eiffel-tower-guinness-book-records