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Saturday, July 21, 2012
Tokyo Tower shrinks as quake-bent spire is replaced
By JUN HONGO
Tokyo Tower is standing a bit shorter than its listed 333-meter height because an antenna at the top is being replaced after being bent by the Great East Japan Earthquake.
According to Nippon Television City Corp., which manages the iconic landmark, the tip had been trimmed to about 315 meters by Monday after work to replace it began on July 10. But work to install the new antenna has added about 9 meters since, bringing it back up to about 324 meters as of Friday, an NTC spokeswoman told The Japan Times.
"It is the first time that the tower has been shorter than 333 meters" since its grand opening in 1958, she said. The tower will be returned to its original height by late August.
Tokyo Tower served as a broadcast tower for NHK and other TV stations until analog TV broadcasts ceased with the conversion to digital signals. Since the wobbling caused by the March 11 quake bent the antenna, NTC had to reinforce the damaged segment until it could be repaired. Nevertheless, the spokeswoman said its replacement was inevitable since all TV broadcasts have shifted from analog to digital. Despite the replacement work, the tower's observatories and facilities are functioning as usual, she added.
Tokyo Tower opened on Dec. 23, 1958 as a TV broadcasting antenna for Greater Tokyo. In 2006, the tourist spot logged its 150-millionth visitor.
In May, the 634-meter Tokyo Sky Tree took over Tokyo Tower's duties to become the capital's main digital terrestrial TV tower as well as the new record holder for height. Tokyo Tower remains a tourist draw and still broadcasts radio shows and some TV.