An overwhelming majority of male and female students belonging to a basketball club in a high school in Osaka have said that they witnessed the coach physically punish other students. This was a result of inquiry made by the Osaka City Board of Education investigating the suicide of a 17 year old boy on December 23 last year.
Based on the results revealed by the board at a press conference last Tuesday, 22 of the 50 students, 20 boys and 30 girls, said they witnessed the coach physically punish the boy, who was also the club captain, on December 22, a day before the suicide. 38 also said that they have seen the coach punish the boy in that way before that day. 48 club members report that they have seen the coach inflict physical punishment on other members. And sadly, 21 members have said that they themselves have been recipients of such punishments. The students said that physical punishments took the form of slapping in the face, beating, or kicking.
The board also revealed that in September 2011, the Osaka municipal government’s whistleblower hotline received a tip reporting the coach for employing such forms of corporeal punishment in Sakuranomiya High School, which is run by the municipal government. The principal back then interviewed the 13 teachers in charge of the sports club, all of whom denied the accusation. The principal immediately concluded that the reports were false, which was accepted by the education board. No student was ever interviewed. Osaka’s superintendent of eduction Tetsuro Nagai said in the press conference that the case should be reinvestigated as the initial investigation was insufficient.