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Wednesday, 29th May 2013

Director of All Japan Judo Federation resigns following assault accusation

Jiro Fukuda, director of the All Japan Judo Federation, confirmed that he would be resigning from his post following allegations of sexual assault. 

Mr Fukuda has been accused of sexually assaulting a female judoka in 2011. 

Speaking in an interview with the Yomiuri Shimbun, Mr Fukuda said: "Though I was drunk, I regret I did the woman a great wrong."

The female judoka involved in the case has chosen to withhold her name in order to protect her privacy. 

Noriko Mizoguchi, a retired judoka who won a silver medal at the Barcelona Olympics, brought the case up on behalf of the unnamed woman. 

The AJJF is set to launch a special investigation task force to look into the matter. 

In February 2013, former head trainer of Japan's women's judo team Ryuji Sonoda, was forced to step down from his post after 15 members of the team accused him of slapping, kicking and beating them in training sessions. 

Following the incident, the AJJF set up a third-party advisory committee to deal with crises related to cases of abuse. 

Hitoshi Saito, whose job it is to develop the AJJF team, suggested that changes were needed in order to ensure similar incidents do not occur in the future. 

"We have caused a lot of trouble. We have to change our ways of thinking and start with a new way of coaching," he said.

In March, the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) confirmed that it would cut funding for the AJJF as a result of accusations of abuse within the team. 

Additionally, it stated that it would require the AJJF to take steps to ensure abuse does not occur in the future and that any concerns from athletes are dealt with in an appropriate manner. 

The JOC stated that "the directives include prohibition of violence or misconduct directed at athletes by coaches, the establishment of a framework for athletes to communicate concerns to the organisation's decision makers, clear and transparent procedures for selection of national team members, and the increased hiring of women as coaches and AJJF executives".