In a year of the olympics, Japan is in a hurry to tackle the abuse of our young athletes

À un an des JO, le Japon pressé de s’attaquer aux abus envers ses jeunes athlètes

Photo: Jae C. Hong Archives Associated Press
Some abuse in sports in Japan have made in recent years.

Japan must act to combat the abuse “endemic” to its young athletes by their coaches, a year of Tokyo olympic Games deferred to 2021, demand Wednesday, activists and victims.

Drawing on more than 800 testimonies of former young sportsmen, including olympic athletes in 50 sports, the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) warns in a new report that abusive behavior of coaches continue to be common in the japanese archipelago.

HRW ” has found that child abuse is still endemic in the course of sports training in schools, federations, and elite sports and japanese “, said Wednesday the national director of the organization, Kanae Doi, during a press conference.

“If the subject of the abuse of children in sport today is a global problem, we have chosen to focus on Japan for the year 2020 due to the arrival of the olympic and paralympic Games “, deferred for one year (July 23-August 8, 2021) due to the pandemic of sars coronavirus.

“Corporal punishment “

“All the Japanese know, unfortunately, that the corporal punishment […] was very prevalent in the sports japanese “, continued Ms. Doi.

In the report of the NGO, there have been reports of cases of children who received punches, kicks, children are the victims of verbal abuse or abuse related to the power supply (orders of overeating, refusal to drink water) or well-being of children forced to train despite injury.

“I’ve been struck so many times I can’t count “, said an athlete.

This problem haunts Keiko Kobayashi, whose son was 15 years old a promising judoka before being beaten by its trainer, which caused him severe brain damage using a technique of choking and throwing him to the ground violently.

“Raise your voice “

“I want children to understand that this behavior is an abuse, I want to learn to raise your voice,” said Mrs. Kobayashi, who notes that the coach has not been sustained, the injuries having been caused during training, and that he continues to work as a school teacher and judo.

Her son, now 30-year-old, still suffers from the after-effects of his injury and is closely followed medically.

His case is not isolated in Japan, where some of the abuse in the sport has made in recent years.

Like in 2018, when a teenager of 13 years committed suicide, his parents, accusing the coach of badminton of the boy having long insulted and abused.

“I think a real problem here in Japan is that we have accepted this practice. And this is due to our culture and our social standards “, raises Takuya Yamazaki, a lawyer specializing in sport, which took part in the report of HRW.

The importance given to the respect of the elders may have as a result of fear for the young athletes to report abuses.

“We were in fear, it is difficult for the victims to express” regrets from the AFP Kosuke Kayahara, 18, who has suffered, as his team-mates, verbal violence on the part of his american football coach.

HRW now wants the government to take more severe measures against the offenders, by setting up an independent body to suspend the coaches involved.

Ms. Doi, HRW has only one wish : that Japan should be proud of this reform “and that it will become” an important legacy and sustainable ” for the protection of young athletes.

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