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WASHINGTON (Kyodo) The National Park Service will send Japan cuttings from the original cherry trees that Tokyo gifted to the United States in 1912 and which have become a symbol of friendship between the two countries.

The NPS plans to give 144 cuttings to the Japan Cherry Blossom Association so the Tokyo-based group can propagate them and continue the genetic line of the original cherry trees, it said.

The plan is part of a number of projects under way in the runup to the 100th anniversary in 2012 of the gift to Washington of 3,000 cherry trees by then Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki.

Commemorating the occasion, a National Cherry Blossom Festival is held every spring in the U.S. capital, drawing many spectators.

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