KOBE – A 13-year-old boy died Wednesday of complications apparently brought on by heatstroke from training at a judo camp in Awaji, Hyogo Prefecture, and not from a beating by an instructor, police said.
Police had initially suspected the beating from Yuki Nagahara’s instructor had caused his death, but an autopsy, showing he died of a heart attack, determined there was no direct link between the beating and his death.
Police suspect Nagahara suffered heatstroke after training all day in intense summer heat and are questioning people in charge of the camp to see how hard they pushed the students.
The 29-year-old judo instructor told police he slapped Nagahara in the face and kicked him in the abdomen “for discipline” after supper Tuesday at the hotel where the judo trainees were staying.
Nagahara collapsed in a hotel bathroom in the presence of a 25-year-old instructor at around 10:35 p.m. and was rushed to a hospital, where he died three hours later.
Eishi Miki, vice principal at Nagahara’s junior high school, expressed his sorrow over the death at a news conference Wednesday morning.
About 90 students from three Kobe junior high schools were taking part in the three-day training course, which began Monday.
Nagahara appeared tired during Tuesday’s training, which was from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., the sources said.
He did not appear to have an appetite during dinner. After the meal, he was singled out by the instructor and ordered to sit with his legs folded under him in the hotel lobby, where he was berated for showing “bad behavior” during training and then beaten, police said, noting the other instructor was present but did not participate.
Nagahara and the instructor who witnessed the incident then went to take showers. The boy then complained of feeling ill and collapsed.
Nagahara, who won in the individual category for sumo at a municipal sporting event last month, was 171 cm tall and weighed 122 kg.
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