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The Meteorological Agency said Friday it will scrap the annual cherry blossom forecast in place for more than half a century, citing similar private-sector services and the need for it to focus more on other services.

Starting in 1955, the agency has released weekly forecasts on the flowering dates from March to April for areas across Japan except the Okinawa and Amami areas, based on observation of sample “someiyoshino” trees, data from past seasons and moves of the mercury.

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