By Duncan Mackay

Haruki Uemura talkingJune 26 - All Japan Judo Federation (AJJF) President Haruki Uemura today announced that he would step down following a series of scandals which have rocked the sport in the land of its birth - but the exact timetable remained unclear.

Uemura, the 1976 Montreal Olympic open class gold medallist, announced his decision at an Extraordinary Board meeting of the AJJF. 

But he claimed that he would not walk away until the reform process, which has been launched following abuse and financial scandals, was well underway. 

"I'll resign when the reforms get under way, probably in four or five months," said 62-year-old Uemura.

Uemura was heavily criticised in a recent report by an Investigating Committee on misappropriations of sports subsidies by some leaders, which saw 27 coaches receive subsidies totalling totalling ¥36.2 million (£240,000/$371,000/€281,000) provided by the Japan Sports Council from 2007 onward even during periods when they did not work with any athletes

When Uemura resigns, all members of the AJJF's leadership team will step down at the same time.

Ryoko Tani in normal clothesTwo-time Olympic gold medallist Ryoko Tani is to join the AJJF Board

Two-time Olympic judo gold medalist Ryoko Tani, 37, currently a politican in the House of Councillors, is also to become one of the first female members of the AJJF Board.

As one of the independent Board members, the AJJF also named Olympic speed skating bronze medalist Seiko Hashimoto, 48, also an Upper House member and President of the Japan Skating Federation.

The appointments are part of the AJJF's efforts to reform itself, based on proposals by an earlier independent panel which investigated violence by coaches against female judoka.

In March, the panel had proposed appointing women to the Board.

In January, it emerged that 15 female judoka, including members of Japan's national judo team for the 2012 London Olympics, had lodged a complaint with the Japanese Olympic Committee over violence and harassment by Ryuji Sonoda, then head coach of the national team, and others.

Sonoda resigned as head coach in February.

Tani took part in five straight Olympic Games after women's judo became an official Olympic event at Barcelona 1992.

She won a gold medal in the 48-kilogram class at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and defended the title in Athens.

She was elected to the Upper House for the first time in 2010 and retired from judo the same year.

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