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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 March 2007, 11:54 GMT
Snowless winter first for Tokyo
Snow in Nagasaki (file photo)
Will snow be a thing of the past for those living in Japan's capital?
The Japanese capital has experienced its first winter without snow for 131 years, weather officials say.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said it had recorded no snow in central Tokyo between December and the end of February, the official winter months.

This the first time no snow has fallen in winter since records began in 1876, the agency said.

Officials said the winter had been unusually warm, but added that snow could still fall in the coming weeks.

And they played down a direct link to global warming.

"We believe El Nino can be one factor. Another theory is that the seasonal southward movement of cold air from the Arctic region was not sustained and weak," one official from the agency said.

"It's a bit of stretch to link this directly to global warming. But the winter was very warm, for sure."

The official, quoted by the AFP news agency, said cold air is expected to move into the Tokyo region in the middle of March.

"We might see snow then. In the past, Tokyo has had snow as late as April 17," the official added.

Tokyo is more likely to experience snowfall in early spring than in winter, according to the meteorological agency.

Four years ago, a December snowfall was the first to be recorded in the Japanese capital for 15 years.

Snow havoc in Tokyo
09 Dec 02 |  Asia-Pacific

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