• Kyodo


Police will investigate to see if negligence was a factor in the heart attack death of a 13-year-old boy Wednesday after a full day of judo practice at a training camp in Awaji, Hyogo Prefecture.

Yuki Nagahara complained of feeling sick during the practice Tuesday, but the 29-year-old camp instructor, who later slapped the youth and kicked him in the stomach, did not take him to a hospital, according to the the Kobe board of education. He collapsed later that evening and was taken to a hospital, where he died early Wednesday.

Police believe Yuki Nagahara might still be alive if he had been hospitalized earlier and will question the instructor and others at the camp again to see if he is responsible.

According to the board of education, which looked into the death, Nagahara told the instructor during training that he had a headache and felt he might be suffering from the flu, but the instructor did not do anything.

Board officials said Nagahara participated fully in the judo practice Tuesday morning, but started taking many breaks in the afternoon to go to the bathroom or lie at the edge of the mat, saying he felt sick.

The boy was one of 90 students from three junior high schools in Kobe who were taking a three-day training course, which began Monday.

The instructor was quoted as telling the board of education he did not take notice of Nagahara’s complaints as he had said he was sick before to avoid training.

The board said it thought the instructor was trying to push Nagahara to keep up and in doing so overlooked signs he was in bad condition.

The boy collapsed at about 10:35 Tuesday in a bathroom of the hotel where the trainees were staying. He was rushed to a hospital on Awaji Island but died about three hours later, police said.

The judo instructor had told police that he slapped the boy in the face and kicked him in the abdomen “for discipline” after supper Tuesday evening as he was made to sit with his legs folded under him on the floor of the hotel lobby.

Police initially suspected the beating may have caused the boy’s death, saying Nagahara was singled out and beaten for “bad behavior during practice, but an autopsy determined the cause of death was heart failure, possibly triggered by heatstroke.”

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