Uemura, others to exit judo federation

Kyodo, JIJI

The reign of Haruki Uemura as chairman of the All Japan Judo Federation has effectively come to an end as he and 22 other board members will submit their resignations over the scandals that have recently rocked the sport.

The federation held an executive meeting Wednesday in which Uemura and other key figures were urged to step down and take the blame for allowing coaches to physically abuse athletes on the women’s national team and for the misappropriation of funds.

Uemura will continue as head of the Kodokan judo institute, while the fate of his post as sports director in the International Judo Federation will be decided later.

At the All Japan Judo Federation’s extraordinary executive meeting, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. Chairman Shoji Muneoka, who is in line to take Uemura’s place, and Yasuhiro Chikaishi, former chief of the Osaka Prefectural Police, were recommended as new board members.

Muneoka, 67, will become the first person from outside the federation to hold the top post after he is appointed next Wednesday.

The 64-year-old Chikaishi, currently a consultant with Toyota Motor Corp., is expected to be appointed secretary-general.

Both Muneoka and Chikaishi were on the University of Tokyo’s judo team.

Uemura, 62, was appointed chairman of the judo federation in April 2009.

He has been under pressure to resign since it came to light in January that coaches had been abusing female judoka. Despite another scandal involving the misuse of funds from the soccer lottery, he had doggedly clung to his post.