• Kyodo

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The Ski Association of Japan suspended all its scholarship holding snowboarders and staff members and set up a third-party investigation committee on Friday following a number of incidents involving the use of marijuana and underage consumption of alcohol.

The SAJ in April handed two slopestyle snowboarders indefinite suspensions and ended their financial backing after they were found to have used marijuana in Colorado in February. Three other underage halfpipe riders were discovered drinking in February in Sapporo.

The SAJ said it was also informed of four more cases of underage drinking as well as power harassment within the snowboarding team.

“We’ve reached the limit in dealing them with internal stopgap measures. We thought it was necessary to get the issues clarified to regenerate the snowboarding team,” SAJ director Takahiko Takayama told a news conference.

The governing body said the third-party committee has begun its hearing on Friday and will permit those without marks against their name to return to action accordingly, working to conclude the process before the next freestyle World Cup round is scheduled to begin in the United States on Wednesday.