Report: Japan chooses new Olympic torch relay route

Japanese officials chose a new starting point for the upcoming Olympic torch relay Monday after a major temple pulled out of the plans over security concerns and sympathy for Tibetan protesters, news reports said. Nagano city officials will now start the April 26 leg of the relay, which has been dogged by anti-China protests as it has worked its way around the world, at a city-owned parking lot, Kyodo News and national broadcaster NHK reported. On Friday, Buddhist monks at the centuries-old Zenkoji temple refused to host the start of the relay. Vandals over the weekend spray painted the temple with white paint, though officials would not say whether the two events were related. Since the torch relay started in Greece on March 24 it has been a magnet for critics of China's human rights record and its crackdown in Tibet on sometimes-violent demonstrations against Chinese rule. Protesters disrupted the torch's stops in London, Paris and San Francisco.