The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is predicting this season will be far worse than last year for allergy sufferers in the capital.The amount of cedar pollen in the air, which can cause noses to run and eyes to itch, will be between 0.9 times and 1.3 times greater than usual in Tokyo this year, according to a report released recently by the metropolitan government.Cedar pollen had by mid-January already invaded some parts of Tokyo, the report said. The pollen is expected to spread to all parts of Tokyo by mid-February.According to a 1996 survey by the metropolitan government, 19.4 percent of Tokyo residents suffer from pollen allergies, representing a 100 percent increase from the previous survey a decade earlier. Millions throughout the country are also afflicted with pollen allergies.Cedar pollen, which can sometimes travel more than 100 km through the air, come from forested areas around central Tokyo. About 20 percent of all forests in the Kanto region consist of cedars, according to the local government.The government is offering daily information on pollen concentration levels by phone at (03) 5272-1187. Other general information about pollen allergies is also available on line at: http://www.tokyo-eiken.go.jp/ index-j.html
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