Japan Apologises After Female Judokas Abused

Japan’s judo federation has apologised to the country’s top female judokas, including Olympic athletes, after admitting its head coach physically abused them.

The scandal came to light when 15 of Japan’s top women judokas wrote to the country’s Olympic committee, accusing head coach Ryuki Sonoda of physically abusing them.

It’s alleged that Sonoda swore at them, slapped them, and struck them with bamboo swords.

Others say they were forced to compete even though they were injured.

Kyodo News said Sonoda did not deny the allegations when asked by reporters.

“Until now I have been doing things the way I saw fit, but I will mend the things that need fixing,” it quoted him as saying.

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Japan: Masato Uchishiba, Two Time Olympic judo champ fired for sex harassment

Japan’s retired double Olympic judo gold medallist Masato Uchishiba was fired as a university coach Tuesday for sexually harassing a female student.

Uchishiba, 33, who won the 66kg title at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, had been coaching the women’s judo team at Kyushu University of Nursing and Social Welfare in Kumamoto prefecture, southern Japan, since April last year.

He announced his retirement from competition in October last year and became a visiting professor at the university last January.

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Japan No. 1 in Asian Games Judo

For most countries, winning almost half of the gold medals on offer in any given sport at an international meet would considered a decent result.

When it comes to judo and Japan, where the sport was born and bred, that’s not good enough.

Japan’s judo team narrowly squeezed past South Korea to top the gold medal tally as the Asia Games judo competition closed Tuesday, claiming seven golds to six for the South Korean squad.

Chinese athletes broke the duopoly, taking two victories on the final day, and an Uzbek claimed another.

Japan went into the closing day of the competition evenly matched with South Korea with six gold, two silver and three bronze medals. The final day was a let down for both Japan and South Korea.

“We are going to have to learn from our mistakes here or we will have problems in London,” team official Kazuo Yoshimura said of Japan’s Olympic aspirations in 2012.

via Japan regains No. 1 status in Asian Games judo.

Yawara-chan says she’s retiring from judo

Judo superstar and Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Ryoko Tani said Friday she will retire from judo and pursue her political career to improve the nation’s sports environment.

"I’ve decided to step back from the front line of competition," Tani, 35, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who won her Diet seat in the July 11 Upper House election, told reporters in Tokyo. Party sources revealed that she told a senior DPJ member she couldn’t pursue both careers because of time constraints and other reasons.

Tani, widely known by the nickname Yawara-chan, which comes from the title character of a popular judo manga, won gold in the 48-kg division at the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

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Judo Champion and Double Olympic Gold Medalist Ryoko Tani to run for parliament

Japan’s seven-time world judo champion and double Olympic gold medalist Ryoko Tani said Monday she planned to run for parliament but was still shooting for gold at the 2012 London Games.

The 34-year-old mother of two said she would become a candidate for embattled Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) in July’s upper-house election.

“While raising my children, I would like to take on other challenges,” she said. “I will remain active in judo. I will try to win the gold in London.”