updated 2/12/2007 9:26:41 AM ET 2007-02-12T14:26:41

No snow has fallen in downtown Tokyo since the beginning of winter — the first time the Japanese capital has gone this late in the season without snow in at least 130 years, the Japan Meteorological Agency said Sunday.

On average, Tokyo's first snow comes on January 2 and the last snow on March 11, said Tsutomu Shinya, an official of the agency. Winter begins in early November.

But on Sunday the still snowless city passed the milestone for the latest first snow, set on Feb. 10, 1960, Shinya said, adding that the city has never experienced a winter completely without snow, according to records that began in 1876.

He was citing data collected at an observation point in downtown Tokyo. He said that some snow has been observed in other parts of Tokyo.

The rest of February is expected to remain warm while the temperature in March is expected to be around average, he said.

Shinya was noncommittal on the chances of snowfall in Tokyo this year, but the respected Nikkei business newspaper said the rest of the winter is expected to remain warm, citing the meteorological agency.

The warm winter this year has forced cancellations of snow festivals across Japan and disappointed retailers with sluggish sales of winter clothes and heaters.

In central Tokyo, officials were busy Sunday trying to prevent snow hauled in from northern Japan for a children's festival from melting.

Elsewhere in Japan, the weekend Snow Huts Festival in the central city of Takayama was canceled due to lack of snow, the city said on its Web site.

The northern city of Aomori also called off a festival scheduled for this weekend because there was not enough snow, according to the city's Web site.

January's average temperature in Japan this year was the fourth-highest since 1898 when the agency started keeping that data, the agency said in its Web site.

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