Former junior high school judo coach found guilty of physically punishing and injuring judo club members

February 15, 2021
The Mainichi Shimbun

The Kobe District Court sentenced Takahiro Ueno (50), a former teacher of Nagao Junior High School in Takarazuka, to 2 years in prison, suspended for 3 years, for injuring two judo club members using judo techniques in Sept. 2020. Judge Kokubu said “The defendant could have discussed the issue with the students to make them reflect on what they had done. Physical punishment has had no educational merit.”

According to the decision given by the District Court on February 15, Ueno, a judo club coach, became upset on Sep. 25 when he learned that two first year club members had eaten popsicles stored in the teacher’s room refrigerator. “We’ll have a battle,” he said. At the school martial training hall he used judo throwing and groundwork techniques against two beginner students. One student broke his spine and the other injured his foot. The student with the serious back injury tried to escape but was pulled back to continue judo. When he fainted, his face was slapped to wake him up. The other student held on to the wall with fear but was forced down on the mat.

Judge Kokubu indicated that Ueno persistently used violent actions under an outburst of anger even after the students had apologized. She said the problem is serious considering disciplinary punishments he had received in previous schools for physically punishing students. On the other hand, the sentence was suspended because he was socially punished by being disciplinary dismissed on Nov. 2020.

The Prefectural Board of Education imposed a pay cut on the other coach who did not stop Ueno’s violent actions. The All Japan Judo Federation dismissed Ueno from membership.

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