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Judo coaches changed minds over planned resignations

Kyodo

Japan’s acting head coach of the women’s judo team and two assistants, who were planning to quit in a show of protest, decided to stay on Monday after the All Japan Judo Federation suggested it would lift reprimands issued to them in connection with a scandal related to the abuse of 15 judoka.

Coach Masaru Tanabe and assistants Hitomi Kaiyama and Midori Shintani had decided to resign earlier Monday because they were upset that the AJJF had found them guilty by association in the explosive scandal — even though the federation had cleared them on charges of physically and verbally abusing the athletes.

But AJJF President Haruki Uemura admitted later the same day the federation had jumped to conclusions, repealing the warnings to the three that were issued with former head coach Ryuji Sonoda and Kazuo Yoshimura, the head of development at the AJJF.

Sonoda and Yoshimura resigned to take responsibility last month, and another assistant, Kazuhiko Tokuno, followed them out the door.

“We held them responsible out of habit, without looking into what was what,” Uemura said. “It’s an undeniable fact that we were at fault.”

With Uemura’s admission, Tanabe, Kaiyama and Shintani withdrew their resignations.

“If they are going to lift the reprimands, then we appreciate that,” Tanabe said. “The three of us will not resign.”