Tuesday, 22nd April 2008
In General Japan News,
New torch relay location chosen in Nagano
A new starting point has been selected for the Nagano leg of the controversy-ridden Olympic torch relay, following Zenkoji Temple's withdrawal.
Due to begin on Monday April 28th, the Beijing Olympic flame will now begin its Japanese journey in a far less glamorous location - a disused car park, 800 metres south-west of the temple, according to Japan Times.
Organiser Yuya Kobayashi explained the choice to the publication, stating: "We were pressed for time but were able to find an alternative site nearby - fortunately, we barely have to change our initial plans."
The opening ceremony for the relay has also undergone a last-minute makeover, with a potted, 15-minute version set to replace the original 30-minute event, the publication reports.
Zenkoji Temple dates back to the 8th century and its grounds include eastern Japan's largest temple structure - the Hondo - and a copy of what is claimed to be the country's first Buddhist statue.