In the wake of the controversy involving coach Ryuji Sonoda and Japan’s women’s judo team members, Kyodo News surveyed 25 federations other than judo that participated in the 2012 London Olympics by distributing questionnaires to coaches and members of the development staff. It was revealed that respondents from two of those federations have indeed seen physical violence by the coaches during trainings. Of the 55 individuals in the 25 federations who were sent questionnaires via e-mail, 34 from 21 federations responded.
From the sports in which there was physical abuse observed, one of the respondents answered both “yes” and “no” to a question asking if he himself had employed physical abuse. The respondent explained that when he was head coach, he never did, but when he was a novice coach, he said, “I threw a metal folding chair at someone so as to conceal my own weakness. The athlete dodged it.” In the question, “Do you believe physical abuse by sports coaches will end?” nine respondents chose the option saying “I do not think so.” Two respondents of those nine had also checked “I believe so.”
Just last week, the Japan Olympic Committee summoned Representatives of 31 Olympic sports federations. They were asked if physical abuse, power harassment or sexual harassment were done during training for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games. Not surprisingly, they all answered in the negative. The Kyodo News survey, obviously, produced a different result. Note that Kyodo News did not ask for a specific time period in its poll.