Basketball

JBA establishes committee to cope with verbal, physical abuse on teams throughout nation

by Kaz Nagatsuka

Staff Writer

Oppressive actions such as corporal punishment and verbal abuse of athletes by coaches and those who have positions of authority have clearly been a major issue in Japanese sports in recent years.

The Japan Basketball Association has recently formed an “integrity committee” to bring healthy athletic environment to the sport.

There have already been disciplinary and arbitration committees, which oversee on-court and off-court matters, respectively, at the JBA. The integrity committee is designed to set guidelines, using lecutures and other activities for teams and coaches in order to prevent the occurrence of abuse problems in advance.

With the installment of the integrity committee, coaches will be issue a technical foul if they use abusive language to their players or deliver physical punishment during games. All teams, from elementary school to top league clubs, will be subject to this new guideline. The regulation will be put into effect nationally starting next month.

The committee’s guidelines were explained at Thursday’s temporary JBA council meeting at a Tokyo hotel.

In 2012, a captain of the Sakuranomiya High School boy’s basketball team killed himself after he was physically abused by the team’s coach. The news sent shock waves throughout the nation.

According to the JBA, there have been more number of oppressive abuse cases in high school basketball than any other sports in Japan since 2014.

“We are going to send messages on what (coaches) cannot do,” said Takao Udagawa, the head of the integrity committee. “And then we would like to eventually bring ‘clean basketball.’ “

FIBA Central Board member Ingo Weiss and other FIBA officials also attended the council meeting.

Meanwhile, the JBA is already mapping out its plans for the men’s national team before the upcoming FIBA World Cup in China, where Japan will make its first appearance in the event in 13 years.

JBA technical director Tomoya Higashino said that the Akatsuki Five hope to play as many as eight warm-up games, including ones at the test event for the 2020 Summer Games. He added that Japan, which is now ranked 48th in the world, plans to face higher-ranked nations in the run-up to the World Cup.

Higashino also said that the JBA would dispatch a “B” national team, which mostly consists of younger prospects to the William Jones Cup in Taiwan for a developmental purpose. He mentioned the names of University of North Carolina Wilmington stellar point guard Kai Toews and University of Portland big man Hugh Hogland as candidates for the squad.

The top national team for the World Cup is expected to have United States-based stars, including Yuta Watanabe and Rui Hachimura, on it. Higashino said that the training camp would kick off in early or mid-July.

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