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World's tallest tower to open in Tokyo

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10:21 17.05.2012
text: Kazinform
views: [978]

The Tokyo Skytree, twice as tall as the Eiffel Tower, opens next week as Japanese train operators counter an aging population by building malls, offices and tourist attractions.

The 634-meter (2,080 feet) structure in eastern Tokyo sits in a retail complex housing more than 300 shops and restaurants, a planetarium and an aquarium. Developer Tobu Railway Co. (9001) expects the project to draw 32 million visitors in its first year, surpassing the numbers at Tokyo Disney Resort. Tobu, whose revenue has fallen for five years, will also get a 28.3 billion yen ($352 million) sales boost in the year ending March 31, according to Kazuhiko Hirata, a general manager for finance.

The 143 billion yen development, which took four years to build, follows last month's opening of Tokyu Corp. (9005)'s 34-story entertainment complex in the Shibuya shopping district and East Japan Railway Co. (9020)'s ongoing 50 billion-yen renovation of Tokyo Station. The companies are taking advantage of land they own around stations to generate new income and lure more travelers as Japan's shrinking birthrate threatens commuter traffic.

"People will use the Tobu line to go to Tokyo Skytree and they will shop in Tobu shops when they get there," said Masayuki Kubota, who oversees the equivalent of $2 billion in assets in Tokyo at Daiwa SB Investments Ltd. "It's a very good investment." He doesn't own Tobu shares, he said.

The development will boost Tobu's operating profit by 3.2 billion yen in the year ending March 31, according to Hirata. The company will have as many as eight trains an hour running from the Asakusa terminus to the development's closest station, which has been renamed Tokyo Skytree.