By Duncan Mackay

Ryuji Sonoda at London 2012March 12 - A panel investigating violence against the women's top judo players has proposed a series of reforms, including giving female administrators a bigger role in the running of the sport. 

The panel, headed by Haruo Kasama, the country's former prosecutor general, presented their report today to Haruki Uemura, President of the All Japan Judo Federation (AJJF).

Its main proposal is the appointment of the first-ever female official to the Board of the AJJF and co-opting someone from outside the sport into a senior role.

Other recommendations by the panel, which also contained Japan Football Association vice-president Kozo Tashima and former French international Pierre Flamand, who is now a coach at Keio University, included drawing up coaching guidelines aimed at eradicating physical abuse from judo and improving the overall system of athlete development.

The scandal erupted in January when 15 female judokas, some of which competed at London 2012, complained to the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC), claiming to have been regularly slapped and beaten with wooden swords by their coaches.

Ryuji Sonoda (pictured top right), the Japanese judo women's head coach, apologised for his actions and resigned after admitting that the allegations were "more or less true".

The report, compiled after the panel had spoken to 20 people, including several female judoka who claimed that they had been abused, is due to be discussed by the AJJF at its Board meeting in Tokyo next Monday (March 15). 

"We hope this will be an opportunity for organisational improvements in the judo federation," said Kasama.

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