Japan has warmest winter ever, no snow in Tokyo

TOKYO Fri Mar 2, 2007 5:28am EST

The Shibuya shopping district in Tokyo, February 14, 2007. Japan has had the warmest winter ever and central Tokyo has seen no snow so far -- the first time since records began, the official weather forecaster said on Friday. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

The Shibuya shopping district in Tokyo, February 14, 2007. Japan has had the warmest winter ever and central Tokyo has seen no snow so far -- the first time since records began, the official weather forecaster said on Friday.

Credit: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan has had the warmest winter ever and central Tokyo has seen no snow so far -- the first time since records began, the official weather forecaster said on Friday.

"We have never seen a year without snow in the central Tokyo area. We started taking snow records in 1877," an official with Japan's Meteorological Agency said. "If central Tokyo does not see snow before long, it will be for the first time since then."

The agency said nationwide average temperatures for the three months from December 2006 to February 2007 matched the previous highs in the December 1948-February 1949 period. It started recording nationwide average temperatures in 1899.

"Behind the record high temperature in the 2007 winter in Japan, there might be an impact of global warming due to an increase in (emissions of) greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide," the agency said on its Web site.

Northern Japan, where skiers are used to see mountains packed high with snow, had just a light sprinkling this winter.

Temperatures are likely to stay normal or higher than usual next week in most of Japan and then might drop to normal March levels the following week, the agency forecast.

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