March 5 - Three more coaches implicated in the abuse controversy that has engulfed judo in Japan, and which has scandalised the country, have offered to resign, it has emerged.
Among those who have tendered their resignations is Masaru Tanabe (pictured top), who had been appointed acting national women's judo head coach after Ryuji Sonoda resigned last month following revelations of ill-treatment.
The 40-year-old Tanabe, along with female coaches Hitomi Kaiyama and Midori Shintani, had remained at the All-Japan Judo Federation (AJJF) despite 15 Japanese women judokas accusing Sonoda and his staff of slapping, kicking and beating them during training in the run-up to London 2012.
The scandal has overshadowed the build-up to the visit of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission, chaired by Britain's Sir Craig Reedie, who are in the Japanese capital inspecting Tokyo's bid to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.
The three reportedly offered their resignations to the AJJF last Friday (March 1) after returning from a trip to Europe where Japanese judokas competed in several tournaments, including the International Judo Federation Grand Prix in Düsseldorf where Riho Okamoto won the women's -48kg category.
Tanabe, Kaiyama and Shintani had all been reprimanded for their roles in the scandal, described as the "gravest crisis" in Japan's sports history by Sports Minister Hakubun Shimomura, but there was no pressure for them to resign, it is claimed.
Hitoshi Saito, head of the AJJF Special Training Committee, claimed he hoped he could persuade them to stay in their posts.
But Tanabe claimed that a cloud had been placed over him and the other staff following the scandal.
"I can't continue coaching with people looking at me as if I had used violence," he told The Mainichi.
"Our positions go beyond the national team.
"We want the [AJJF] to reconsider the action against us."
A special committee set-up by the AJJF investigating the scandal would recommend whether the resignations should be accepted, revealed Haruki Uemura, President of the AJJF.
"The committee will examine whether our initial judgment to have staff members take collective responsibility was appropriate," he said.
"We will reconsider penalties if the Committee suggests so."
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February 2013: Japanese women's coaches suspended by International Judo Federation after scandal
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January 2013: Japan judo head coach quits over "beating" scandal
January 2013: Japanese Olympic judokas "beaten with sticks" by head coach