The servers slowed but didn’t crash in Tokyo Tuesday as customers queued up for hours

An iPhone 4 queue in Tokyo. Source: IDG

For reasons that aren’t immediately clear, Japan didn’t suffer the nationwide meltdowns that brought Apple’s AAPL and AT&T’s T servers to their knees Tuesday, the first day of pre-orders for the iPhone 4 that goes on sale June 24.

There were glitches that slowed the computers at SoftBank, Apple’s exclusive carrier in Japan, and customers formed long lines that snaked around Tokyo city blocks.

But judging from IDG’s video reporting, SoftBank’s problems were nothing to compare with AT&T’s.

Below: That IDG video.

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]