National / Social Issues

Judo federation probes exec's alleged sexual misdeed against female athlete


The All Japan Judo Federation is probing allegations that a top female judoka was the target of an inappropriate sexual advance in December 2011 by a director of the body.

Former Olympic silver medalist judoka Noriko Mizoguchi said Thursday that the female judoka, whose name was not released, claimed that the director, also unnamed, tried to hug her and kiss her on a Tokyo subway elevator.

Mizoguchi, a medalist at the 1992 Barcelona Games, revealed the female athlete’s allegations against the federation director during a Tokyo symposium on eradicating abuse in sports.

“An investigation into the circumstances has begun,” said Hiromasa Uno, who chairs the federation’s board of public relations. “We do not understand the details. If this is true, we want to deal with this strictly.”

The athlete, who has competed in national championships, contacted Mizoguchi on May 13 and met with attorney Masaki Sakaida on Tuesday. The athlete is considering seeking the director’s resignation, the two said.

According to Sakaida, shortly after the alleged sexual advance occurred, the athlete took the matter to a federation executive but no action was taken.

The federation has been under siege this year following revelations that 15 female athletes, some of them members of the London Olympic team, had been subjected to physical abuse and power harassment. The scandal has led to a string of resignations, starting with the manager of the Japan women’s team and an assistant.

Mizoguchi referenced the abuse scandal when she called this latest revelation “the 16th indictment,” and said, “It would not be surprising to see this end up as a criminal case.”

She also said she has reported the latest case to Noriko Kitada, who is in charge of eradicating sexual harassment within the federation.

Federation Chairman Haruki Uemura, who declined to resign over the abuse scandal, said in April, after a report surfaced of financial mismanagement, that he would eventually step down. He is still the chairman.

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