• Kyodo

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Three major Japanese firms and an eminent architect will be involved in a 13.69 billion yen project to build what is expected to be the world’s highest and largest revolving observation wheel in Singapore.

Mitsubishi Corp., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Takenaka Corp. will be part of a team to construct the giant Ferris wheel, which was conceptualized by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa and unveiled Friday by the Singapore Tourism Board.

The mammoth wheel, named Singapore Flyer, will soar 170 meters above the ground — about the height of a 45-story building — on Singapore’s southern waterfront, providing a panoramic view of the island state and neighboring Malaysia and Indonesia.

When completed, around the end of 2005, it will have 32 fully air-conditioned capsules, each capable of carrying 25 passengers on a 35-minute rotating journey.

The developers say it will be bigger than the London Eye and will be a high-tech engineering feat.

Singapore Flyer is expected to become a major tourist attraction, drawing 2.5 million visitors in the first year of operation.

Singapore is currently struggling to lure tourists back to the city state after being declared free of severe acute respiratory syndrome by the World Health Organization on May 31.

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