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2013年6月14日 (金)

全柔連会長続投 「退場勧告」への感度も鈍い

The Yomiuri Shimbun June 14, 2013
Judo federation must cleanse itself if it hopes to achieve reform
全柔連会長続投 「退場勧告」への感度も鈍い(6月13日付・読売社説)

The only way to revive an entity that lacks the ability to purify itself is to completely change the awareness of its members. We are simply astonished that the head of such an organization has announced he will not resign, despite the many problems plaguing his federation.

Haruki Uemura, president of the All Japan Judo Federation, or Zenjuren--which has been hit with a series of scandals--has announced he intends to stay on as president of the organization, saying, “To carry out appropriate reform is the mission tasked to me.”

At an about three-hour federation board of directors’ meeting held Tuesday, whether Uemura should resign was reportedly not on the meeting agenda. Uemura and other executive federation members’ intent to take no responsibility over the organization’s management is far removed from societal norms.

No end to scandals

Concerning the federation, physical violence and verbal abuse directed toward female judoka on the national team by their then head coach came to light in January.

Another problem emerged in March. The federation forced individual members of its support committee, which works to help improve judoka’s skills, to divert a portion of subsidies provided by the Japan Sports Council for that purpose to the committee itself.

Last month, it was also revealed that a former top female judoka was the target of obscene acts by a member of the board of directors.

Three directors in total were forced to resign over these scandals. It is crystal clear that the president, as the leader of the organization, cannot evade his supervisory responsibility.

In regard to the misused subsidies, the outstanding sum amounted to about 23 million yen as of March. The rest was reported to have been primarily used by the committee for wining and dining expenses.

Unacceptable behavior

Such behavior should not be allowed in a public interest incorporated foundation, which is entitled to preferential tax treatment. A third-party panel investigating the problem determined in its interim report in April that it was an organizational decision to use the subsidies outside of their intended purposes. The panel criticized the judo federation as “lacking the spirit to observe rules.”

We should not overlook the fact that the subsidies’ obligatory payment system to the committee had already existed when Uemura was chairman of the support committee.

It is also a major problem that Zenjuren was ordered by the Cabinet Office’s Public Interest Corporation Commission to resubmit a report on the scandals.

The commission, which examines applications for public interest incorporated associations and foundations, and supervises approved organizations, requested Zenjuren to submit a report on the problems. However, in its report, the organization pointed a finger at the third-party panel, saying it “felt something was wrong” with the panel’s evaluation of the federation.

The report was submitted to the commission at the discretion of a few executives, including Uemura, without discussing the matter at a board of directors meeting.

It is only reasonable for the Cabinet Office commission to point out that the comment “led us to suspect that Zenjuren has governance problems.”

Since the federation was founded in 1949, the post of Zenjuren president has been held by a son and a grandson of Jigoro Kano, judo’s founder. Exercising his influence as the federation’s honorary president, Kano’s grandson acts as a guardian to Uemura, the organization’s first nonhereditary president.

Zenjuren does not function as a healthy organization should. If Uemura says he will reform the federation, reshuffling its executive members should be a matter of course. Additionally, the federation needs to change its closed nature by employing external and female board members.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 13, 2013)
(2013年6月13日01時27分  読売新聞)


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