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Japan counts down to cherry blossom fever

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Millions of Japanese celebrate the explosion of white and pink flowers heralding the change of season, with the Tokyo area expected to hit full bloom this week.

Mito, Japan

JAPAN's cherry blossom season kicks off boozy parties across the country and draws tourists from far and wide, but the annual coming-of-spring ritual isn't official until inspectors like Hisato Nishii sign off on it.

Over the past few weeks, local weather offices have

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