Osaka coach whose abuse led to suicide faces charges


The case of the Osaka high school basketball coach accused of physically punishing players so harshly that one committed suicide has been turned over to prosecutors.

According to the Osaka Prefectural Police, former Sakuranomiya High School teacher Hajime Komura, 47, who coached the basketball team, has admitted to the charges and said that what he did to the team’s then-captain “went beyond mere physical punishment.”

After the teen’s family filed a complaint about the alleged assault with police, hearings held with Komura and the hoops team revealed physical abuse took place regularly at the sports-minded municipal school.

On Friday, the police turned their case against Komura over to prosecutors, urging his indictment.

Komura is suspected of hitting the second-year student, 17, in the face several times during a practice game Dec. 18 and more than 10 times in a practice on Dec. 22. The youth received a bloody lip, among other injuries.

Early the next day, the student was found hanging in his bedroom.

Komura, who had been employed by the school since 1994, admitted during the hearings that he thought violence was part and parcel of education.

The Osaka city board of education fired Komura on Feb. 13 after recognizing violence was the major cause of the suicide.