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Olympic gold medalist handed five-year term

Judo champ jailed for raping student

Kyodo

The Tokyo District Court sentenced two-time Olympic judo champion Masato Uchishiba to five years in prison Friday for raping a female member of a university judo club at a Tokyo hotel in 2011.

Presiding Judge Tomonao Onizawa said the court “cannot trust” the claim by Uchishiba, a 34-year-old former gold medalist, that he had consensual sex with the student.

Later Friday, All Japan Judo Federation Chairman Haruki Uemura announced the organization will expel Uchishiba.

Uchishiba, who used to coach the women’s judo club at Kyushu University of Nursing and Social Welfare, raped the student while she was drunk and asleep at a hotel in Tokyo’s western suburb of Hachioji in the early hours of Sept. 20, 2011, after drinking with several other club members, the court said.

After the ruling was handed down, Uchishiba covered his pale face with his hands. “I’m going to appeal the ruling,” Uchishiba told Judge Onizawa at the end of the lay judge trial.

Onizawa said the woman’s accusation that Uchishiba had violated her was credible, given that she had drunk so much alcohol at a restaurant she had visited with him and other members that she was not able stand unassisted before Uchishiba raped her.

“It was impossible for the victim to do something on her own initiative,” the judge said.

He noted that the student “could not be pretending” to be a victim since she consulted other club members immediately afterward and had to take leave from the university due to depression. The judge said it is difficult to assume that the student — who chose to attend the university to take lessons from Uchishiba — was lying in an attempt to disgrace him.

“The accused trampled over the victim’s feelings despite being in a position to lead Japanese judo in the future,” the judge added.

Prosecutors had sought a five-year sentence, saying there was “no doubt Uchishiba raped the student, who could not resist because she had passed out drunk.”

During an earlier trial session, Uchishiba said: “If judo is taken away from me, I’m nothing. I thought I should kill myself to express my feelings of remorse.”

Uchishiba won the gold medal in the 66-kg class at the 2004 Athens Olympics and the Beijing Olympics four years later. He began coaching the club of Kyushu University of Nursing and Social Welfare, Kumamoto Prefecture, in April 2010, but was dismissed in November 2011 following an allegation of sexual harassment.

He was arrested in the following month over the student’s rape allegation and barred from all judo activities by the All Japan Judo Federation in January 2012.