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Cherry blossoms are expected to start blooming in Tokyo on March 23 this year, slightly earlier than usual, and reach full bloom eight days later on March 31, according to a forecast by Japan Meteorological Corp., an Osaka-based weather-forecasting company.

The forecast, released Thursday, stated that flowering dates will be about the same as an average year across the nation. Kochi and Fukuoka prefectures have the same forecast flowering date as Tokyo, making them the first to blossom throughout the nation.

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