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Japan: Child Abuse in Pursuit of Olympic Medals

Host of 2021 Summer Games Should Undertake Urgent Systemic Reforms

Monday 20 July 2020


Embargoed for ReleaseNot for Publication Until:2:00 p.m. in Tokyo, Monday, July 20, 202005:00 GMT, July 20, 2020

(Tokyo, July 20, 2020) – Child athletes in Japan suffer physical, sexual, and verbal abuse when training for sport, Human Rights Watch said in a new report, released today, that documents depression, suicides, physical disabilities, and lifelong trauma resulting from the abuse. Japan will host the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics beginning July 23, 2021. The report, “‘I Was Hit So Many Times I Can’t Count’: Abuse of Child Athletes in Japan,” documents Japan’s history of corporal punishment in sport – known as taibatsu in Japanese – and finds child abuse in sports training throughout Japanese schools, federations, and elite sports. In interviews and a nationwide online survey, Japanese athletes from more than 50 sports reported abuses that included being punched in the face, kicked, beaten with objects like bats or bamboo kendo sticks, being deprived of water, choked, whipped with whistles or racquets, and being sexually abused and harrassed.

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