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Osaka basketball coach tries to justify physical discipline after beaten boy’s suicide

Kyodo

A basketball coach in an Osaka high school who repeatedly beat a 17-year-old student before the boy committed suicide last month has justified his actions as a “necessary measure to make the team stronger,” the Osaka municipal board of education said Friday.

“I had the actual feeling that the students were going in the right direction by physically disciplining them,” the coach at Sakuranomiya Senior High School told the board of education on Dec. 28, five days after the boy hanged himself. “It was meant to stir him up.”

On Friday, the board disclosed details of its questioning of the basketball coach, whose name has not been provided.

Asked whether he could have guided the youth without resorting to physical discipline, the coach said: “Maybe I could have, but there was improvement in some students who were slapped. I wanted the student (who committed suicide) to be like that.”

Acknowledging that his act constituted physical punishment, the 47-year-old coach admitted his beating of the teen who committed suicide “was too harsh.”

He said he slapped the student, who was the captain of the team, with both hands, adding it was an “ultimate measure,” according to the board of education.

He also said he slapped the student four or five times on the cheek and four or five times on the head on Dec. 22, and several times on the cheek and head on Dec. 18.

His remark contradicts what the student told his mother before he committed suicide on the morning of Dec. 23. He told his mother that he had been beaten 30 to 40 times when he came home on Dec. 22.

The board of education questioned the coach on Dec. 28 for about an hour but claimed it could not grasp the entire picture of the abuse because the man was badly shaken.