600-meter tower planned for Ueno

45 billion yen project is tallest in world

Construction of a 600-meter-high tower — which would make it the tallest in the world — is being planned for Tokyo’s Taito Ward, it was learned Saturday.

A group of local businesses and residents of Taito Ward has drawn up a basic plan to build the tower by 2007, group members said.

The tower — tentatively named the New Tokyo Tower — would transmit next-generation terrestrial digital broadcasting and a site in Ueno Onshi Park has been earmarked for the undertaking, the group said.

The new tower would easily exceed the 333-meter Tokyo Tower in Tokyo’s Minato Ward, and would also be taller than the 553-meter CN Tower in Toronto, Canada.

Under the plan drawn up by the project committee, which includes representatives of the business community, tourism organizations and local residents, the cost of building the tower would come to around 45 billion yen.

It remains to be seen how the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, which manages the park, responds to the project.

The proposed tower would fill the need in the broadcasting industry for a tall tower for terrestrial digital broadcasting services that are scheduled to begin in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya at the end of 2003.

Broadcasting companies are looking for a facility that is taller than the current Tokyo Tower to ensure broadcasts are not hampered by the increasing number of high-rise buildings.

Other proposals have been put forward for such a tower in the city of Hachioji on the outskirts of Tokyo, in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward and elsewhere around the capital.

Most of the proposals have been withdrawn for reasons such as the probable obstruction of aircraft flight paths. The new proposal would not affect these routes.

The Taito Ward project committee plans to formally submit the plan to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and other authorities by November.

If approval is granted, the committee will call on the Taito Ward office and companies such as television broadcasting stations to invest in a semi-public company to be set up by the end of the year.

General sales for retailers in Taito Ward have fallen by around 20 percent in the last 10 years. The ward’s business group hopes that the tower will help spur a recovery in sales by attracting more people.

In addition to a viewing dome to be built at the top of the tower, the group also plans to set up a center tentatively called the “digital art center” to display the latest digital technology and related arts.

The group plans to create a cultural zone around Ueno Park, teaming up with organizations such as local museums. It would also take steps to enhance the greenery and landscapes of the surrounding areas.