Thousands of riot police are lined the streets of Nagano Friday, for the first Japan leg of the Olympic torch relay with helicopters hovering overhead.
Demonstrators protesting China's treatment of Tibet are rallying at a prayer vigil. Police guards in track suits surrounded the first runner, the manager of Japan's national baseball team. Another 100 uniformed riot police trotted alongside six patrol cars and two police motorcycles leading the way. The starting point and rest stops were closed to the public for what Japanese officials called "unavoidable security considerations."
Japan is the 16th international stop for the relay. The summer games open in Beijing August 8th.