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2013年3月25日 (月)

全柔連改革 人心一新しか再生の道はない

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 25, 2013)
Scandal-tainted judo federation must revamp leadership
全柔連改革 人心一新しか再生の道はない(3月24日付・読売社説)

A rash of scandals, including cases of physical violence and verbal abuse of female judoka, has left the reputation of the All Japan Judo Federation in tatters.

To rebuild the disgraced judo body, the AJJF has no option other than pushing through drastic organizational reform by overhauling its leadership.

But last week, the AJJF decided to allow all of its executives, including Chairman Haruki Uemura, to retain their positions and made no change to the lineup.

Doesn't the federation have a culture of taking responsibility for these scandals? We feel disgusted by the AJJF decision that flies in the face of commonly accepted norms.

Before the federation's decision, an independent panel tasked with looking into the abuse submitted on March 12 a set of reform proposals to the AJJF. The proposals pointed sternly to problems with the federation as an organization. The panel noted the federation has a dearth of human resources that "can stand for socially accepted common sense, not the common sense that works only in the judo world."


Unable to manage crisis

One committee member, psychiatrist Rika Kayama, quite rightly had a brickbat for the AJJF decision, saying her panel had worked out its recommendations after concluding the federation "wasn't functioning as an organization."
Kayama added, "Disciplinary measures should be taken against AJJF executives, including Chairman Uemura."

The federation, which was aware of the physical and verbal abuse dished out by the coach of the national women's judo team, who eventually resigned, decided at one time to keep him in his position. Driven by a sense of distrust, 15 female national team judoka filed a complaint with the Japanese Olympic Committee against the AJJF.

The federation remains oblivious to the gravity of its problems, and has been unable to take proper steps to deal with the situation. It is obvious the federation badly lacks crisis management capability.

Noriko Mizoguchi, a silver medalist in the women's 52-kilogram judo division at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, said the federation "has a strong tendency to concentrate power in a handful of executives, making it hard for others to oppose [their decisions]."

As long as the "handful of executives" remains unchanged, there is virtually no hope for an organizational transformation of the AJJF.

Uemura said the federation "will address the challenges by working as one." However, a revamp of its leadership must be the first step toward reforming the federation.


Irregular use of subsidies

The independent panel also called for the AJJF to appoint executives from outside and introduce a system to adopt female executives and coaches. The federation should ensure these proposals are translated into action to get rid of its closed nature and be transformed into an organization in which everyone can candidly exchange their views.

Another scandal also surfaced in the AJJF: A portion of subsidies the government-backed Japan Sports Council paid to members of a federation committee for supporting promising athletes was allegedly funneled to federation executives for winning and dining for themselves and others.

The disbursements were not recorded, and no receipts were kept. About 20 million yen was reportedly pooled for such usage.

Furthermore, an AJJF executive in charge of the committee for supporting promising judoka has acknowledged that he wrongly received subsidies from the council despite having no involvement in training the athletes, with part of the cash diverted to the AJJF leadership.

The judo federation is an incorporated foundation for the public interest that receives preferential tax treatment. Such opaque financial management at the federation is unforgivable.

It is also crucial that the AJJF get to the bottom of these problems so it can regain the public's trust.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 24, 2013)
(2013年3月24日01時20分  読売新聞)


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