The Sky Tree tower in Tokyo is the world’s second-tallest structure. (Itsuo Inouye/AP)

Sweeping but hazy views of Tokyo, Japan, greeted journalists Tuesday as they visited the world’s tallest freestanding broadcast tower, scheduled to open to the public next month.

The 2,080-foot Tokyo Sky Tree is the world’s second-tallest structure, according to Tobu Tower Sky Tree Co.; only the 2,717-foot Burj Khalifa in Dubai is taller.

It takes about 50 seconds in a high-speed elevator to zip up to the lower observation deck at 1,148 feet, and an additional 30 seconds to reach the higher deck at 1,476 feet.

The needlelike radio and television tower was built with steel tubes surrounding a central concrete column. That design is meant to make the structure more stable in the event of an earthquake.

By comparison, the tallest structure in Washington is the Washington Monument. It stands 555 feet tall, which makes the Tokyo Sky Tree almost four times as tall.