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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's weather bureau said on Friday its climate models indicate the El Nino phenomenon, which is often linked to heavy rainfall and droughts, has already emerged and is likely to last until winter.

In its monthly assessment of the six-month outlook for El Nino, the Japan Meteorological Agency said last month the chances are high that El Nino conditions will emerge in the summer.

The last severe El Nino was in 1998, when the phenomenon caused more than 2,000 deaths and wrought billions of dollars in damage to crops, infrastructure and mines in Australia and other parts of Asia.

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