July 30 - All Japan Judo Federation (AJJF) President Haruki Uemura will step down next month following the series of scandals which have rocked the sport in the land of its birth, he announced today.
He made the announcement during an Extraordinary Board meeting of the AJJF, where it was also confirmed that vice-presidents Hiroaki Fujita and Nobuyuki Sato, secretary general Koshi Onozawa and chief secretariat Kiyoshi Murakami will resign.
Uemura, the 1976 Olympic open class champion, was heavily criticised last month 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 (JSC) from 2007 onward even during periods when they did not work with any athletes.
It followed earlier criticism of Uemura over the abuse scandal when it emerged that 15 female judoka, including members of Japan's national judo team for London 2012, 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 but Uemura refused to step down, even after the financial scandal, claiming he would not do so until he was satisfied that a reform process was properly underway
Uemura, however, has now agreed to resign following pressure from the Government who wanted the AJJF reorganised by the end of next month, and will leave his post once a suitable replacement is appointed.
The AJJF has also agreed to return ¥60.55 million (£406,000/$618,000/€466,000) it had received in funding to the JSC, including the ¥36.2 million (£240,000/$371,000/€281,000) paid inappropriately to coaches.
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