Judo: Japan Olympic Committee cuts judo grants

TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese Olympic chiefs are to cut subsidies to the nation's judo federation, reports said, after the sport was rocked by a brutal bullying scandal involving the coach of the national women's judo team.

The decision came after a male coach used a bamboo sword to beat athletes and called them "ugly" and told them to "die".

The suspension, which will affect the fiscal year starting in April, will be the first time the Japanese Olympic Committee has withheld a grant to a sport's governing body, according to national broadcaster NHK.

The judo scandal is seen as a drag on Tokyo's bid to host the 2020 Olympics.

The All Japan Judo Federation (AJJF) received roughly 25 million yen (S$327,449) from JOC in the current fiscal year, NHK said.

The coach, former world champion Ryuji Sonoda, resigned in January after 15 female athletes accused him of physical and emotional abuse.

Japan has long tolerated, to varying degrees, corporal punishment, particularly in athletic and martial arts programmes.

But the brutal practice has become the subject of a tense national debate, after a high school basketball player killed himself late December following constant abuse from his coach, a gym teacher at his school.

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