Weather agency to end most plant, animal watching

NHK -- Nov 11
Japan's weather officials will stop observations of about 90 percent of plants and animals that have continued for nearly 70 years.

The Meteorological Agency began observing the flowering of plants and the first chirping of animals in 1953 to report changes in season and climate.

Staff at weather stations around the country have been watching 57 kinds of plants and animals, including Japanese bush warblers, large brown cicadas, cherry trees and Japanese plum trees.

But the agency says that it will stop observations of 51 kinds of plants and animals at the end of the year.

The officials said it has become difficult in the recent years to find those plants and animals near weather stations due to urbanization. They say, for example, that black-spotted pond frogs could be found at 38 locations nationwide in 1953, but only at five locations last year.

Still, the agency says it will continue to observe cherry trees, Japanese plum trees, maple trees, gingko trees, Japanese pampas grass and hydrangea. It says these plants are still suited for signaling changes in season and climate around the country.

The agency says that for many years, it has been publishing its observations on various plants and animals, informing people about a change in seasons. Weather officials say that they will continue observing some plants, and hope people will keep using their reports as reference.