TOKYO, April 19: The Japanese leg of the Olympic torch relay hit snags Friday, with the Coca-Cola Co. dropping plans to sponsor a float and a temple refusing to participate.
Coca-Cola's Japanese unit said other Olympic-related plans are going forward, The Wall Street Journal reported. The company began selling its drinks this week in bottles with Olympic logos.
Torch relays have been disrupted in Europe and San Francisco by demonstrators protesting Chinese actions in Tibet. In New Delhi, thousands of police officers kept the public outside the area where the torch run took place.
A Coca-Cola spokeswoman said "security concerns" were behind the decision to drop the float. It was to have paraded in front of the runners carrying the Olympic torch next Friday.
Samsung Group and Lenovo Group have also backed out of the parade. Both said the decision was made for budget reasons.
In Nagano, the city's leading Buddhist temple said it could not be used as a starting point for the torch. The reasons cited included pro-Tibet sentiment among the monks and fear that demonstrators would disrupt the relay.