August 14 - A new era is set to finally be ushered in at the All Japan Judo Federation (AJJF) after the official resignation today of President Haruki Uemura and 22 other leading officials following the abuse and financial crisis' which have scandalised the country which is the cradle of the sport.
Uemura (pictured top) and the 22 other members who make up the AJJF Board were urged to step down and take the blame for allowing coaches to physically abuse athletes on the women's national team and for the misappropriation of funds.
Uemura, an Olympic gold medallist in the open division at Montreal 1976, will continue as head of the Kodokan Institute, which bills itself as the headquarters of the worldwide judo community and was founded in 1882 by Kanō Jigorō, the founder of the sport.
But his position as sports director of the International Judo Federation (IJF) is also under threat after the world governing body's President Marius Vizer demanded a full report into the scandal by October 15.
Uemura will be replaced by Shoji Muneoka, chairman and chief executive of Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Corp, while Yasuhiro Chikaishi, former chief of the Osaka Prefectural Police, is expected to be appointed secretary general after they were officially voted on as new Board members.
Both Muneoka and Chikaishi were on the University of Tokyo's judo team.
Uemura, 62, was appointed head of the AJJF in April 2009 but been under pressure to resign since it came to light in January that coaches had been abusing female judoka.
Despite another scandal involving the misuse of funds from the soccer lottery, he had doggedly clung to his post until the Government intervened and ordered that the situation be resolved, leaving no-one in doubt that they wanted wholesale changes to the AJJF by end of this month.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
August 2013: Nippon Steel chief Muneoka to be named new Japan judo President
August 2013: Japan to choose new judo chief next week
July 2013: All Japan Judo Federation President finally agrees to step down after scandals
June 2013: AJJF President to step down - but question remains when?
June 2013: Top All Japan Judo Federation officials criticised by report into financial scandal