27 judo coaches got illegal payments


An independent panel investigating misappropriation of funds by the All Japan Judo Federation said Friday that 27 coaches received illegal payments to the tune of ¥36.2 million.

They received subsidies provided by the Japan Sports Council from fiscal 2007 onward during periods where they did not actually coach any athletes, the panel said in its final report on the investigation.

The investigating committee, headed by lawyer Takahiro Yamauchi, issued a damning midterm report in April that indicated that the federation lacked a law-abiding spirit. One issue with the judo body was the receipt of funds intended for coaches by some federation directors who did not train athletes.

The committee said former federation technical director and board member Kazuo Yoshimura “must shoulder the heaviest responsibility,” and that Secretary-General Kiyoshi Murakami and federation chief Haruki Uemura were also to blame.

It said Uemura also has to take responsibility for hiring Yoshimura.

The report said 12 of the 27 trainers did not qualify for subsidies during any of the periods, while 15 did for some of them.

It branded a “development reserve fund” collected by the federation from subsidy recipients as “inappropriate.”

Yamauchi said the federation should “take the report seriously and take appropriate action,” adding it is “a last chance” to reform the body.

“Chairman Uemura is highly capable, but I want him to consider whether he has been taking the right measures,” Yamauchi said.

Uemura, who earlier this month vowed to complete his mission to reform the scandal-plagued body, said, “I will double check and analyze the final report and discuss it thoroughly at a board meeting” on Monday.

The independent panel is made up of five members of lawyers and accountants.

The All Japan Judo Federation has been rocked by a series of scandals, including a case in which 15 top female judo wrestlers accused their former coach of physical and verbal abuse.

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