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  • IOC, JOC Address Abuse in Japanese Sport


    (ATR) IOC president Thomas Bach and Japanese Olympic Committee president Yasuhiro Yamashita take action following the release of a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report on widespread abuse within Japanese sport.

    Yasuhiro Yamashita, JOC president (Wikimedia Commons)
    Bach and Yamashita, who is also an IOC member, discussed the issue via teleconference last week, the same week the HRW report was released. The report documents the experiences of more than 800 athletes in 50 sports who have suffered physical and verbal abuse, including being sexually abused and harassed.

    “Both Presidents stressed the determination of their organizations to fight against any form of abuse,” an IOC statement said.

    During the meeting Yamashita informed Bach of the steps being taken by the JOC to address the problem, including the introduction of a governance code for Japanese sport which was established in June last year.

    Verification of which National Federations are complying with the code begins this autumn, with the JOC, the Japan Sport Association (JSPO) and the Japanese Para-Sports Association (JPSA) acting as monitors.

    “Together with each NF and other relevant bodies, the JOC will continuously exert the upmost effort to revert to the fundamental understanding of wiping abuse from elite sports activities,” the JOC said in a separate statement.

    In its report, HRW says that the reforms already in place are not enough and “found that child abuse in sport remains accepted and normalized in many parts of society, and that it is difficult for young athletes to file complaints against a powerful coach or official”.

    HRW recommends that the country set up a Japan Center for Safe Sport, an independent administrative body that would be tasked with addressing child abuse in Japanese sport.

    The IOC says the expertise of IOC Athlete Safeguarding experts and the IOC Safe Sport initiatives will be at the disposal of the JOC.

    The IOC statement also revealed that the experts from both organizations would start working together through the IOC Safe Sport initiatives in support of all NOCs, "as the IOC looks to tackle this important issue around the world".

    Homepage photo: ATR

    Written by Gerard Farek

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