Nagano Boosts Security Force For Torch Relay….Chinese Guards Might Participate?

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    With a little over a week until the Olympic torch relay arrives in Japan, Nagano police have beefed-up their security plans:

    Nagano Prefectural Police on Wednesday decided to boost the number of members dispatched to guard the route along Japan’s Olympic torch relay to about 1,500 — more than double the originally planned number.

    Based on conditions when the relay is held in Nagano on April 26, police said they would expand the force to a size of up to 3,000 or 4,000 members, providing extra heavy security.

    The National Police Agency and Nagano Prefectural Police have sought assistance from neighboring prefectural police headquarters and riot unit members in nearby precincts, and they are reportedly considering dispatching an extra 1,000 members along the route.

    It also looks like China’s paramilitary police runners are coming to Japan:

    Meanwhile four people from the Beijing Olympic organizing committee entered Nagano on Wednesday. They have asked that six “security runners” be sent to Japan, to take turns in pairs running alongside the Olympic flame. Committee officials said that the members’ job would be overseeing the Olympic torch, and added that they would not directly participate in security.

    Previous reports of Japan “banning” the Chinese security runners quoted officials who said they would not welcome the men in a security role. The Japanese press reports I have seen so far have yet to mention the official response to the Chinese request, and it is conceivable that the Chinese guards torch team will make an appearance in their blue track suits to “oversee the torch.”

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