• Kyodo


The 47-year-old basketball coach at Osaka’s Sakuranomiya Senior High School whose beating of the team’s 17-year-old captain allegedly prompted the youth to kill himself last month slapped another boy the face repeatedly in 2008 during practice for a sports festival, the city board of education has revealed.

The board said Sunday that the coach slapped the teen two or three times, pushed him to the ground, told him to put in more effort and slapped him again on Sept. 24, 2008, while they were practicing gymnastics, inflicting an internal mouth injury upon the teen.

Despite the injury, the board of education said it only gave the coach a verbal reprimand because the parents of the teen, who was unaffiliated with the basketball team, asked that he not be punished.

After the suicide was reported, it was disclosed that 48 of the 50 members of the team had seen the coach physically abuse players, and about half of them had been beaten by him as well.

The board on Saturday meanwhile also revealed that several team members had been sharing an apartment near the school without supervision until around last fall so they didn’t have to commute long distances to get to practice.

The coach knew about the situation, but school Principal Yoshihiro Sato was unaware of the arrangement until October.

The incident underlines that the coach was putting priority on making the team stronger rather than on the general welfare of the students.

“It was inappropriate for them to live by themselves without parental guidance or (an appropriate) caretaker,” a board official said Saturday, adding the board will investigate further.