translated and edited by Brett Larner
Translator's note: Click here and here for background on this story. Toyokawa Kogyo's head coach is Masaaki Watanabe.
Despite an ongoing scandal involved allegations of the repeated use of corporal punishment by Toyokawa Kogyo H.S.'s 50-year-old male ekiden head coach against team members, principal Yoshihisa Takemoto has confirmed that the team is continuing to train and is scheduled to run in the Feb. 3 Meigi Ekiden.
Over the weekend the school grounds were quiet and empty without the usual club activities. The streets around the school have been crowded with local residents peering into the school grounds as they pass by. A group of men calling themselves alumni of Toyokawa Kogyo H.S. have been gathered near the front gate of the school's grounds, shouting at members of the media and telling them go away. A male local resident in his 50's commented, "I was surprised to hear that this has been happening right here in our town. We need to raise the standards for those responsible for leading youth sports. I believe that this problem needs to be thought of in terms of leaders' overall training and education."
According to information released at a session at the school over the weekend, since last April twelve members of the Toyokawa Kogyo H.S. ekiden team have received corporal punishment from the coach. Of serious concern to the school administration were two cases in which a male student and a female student left the school after being slapped and beaten. Although the school was aware of these two cases, they did not inform the Aichi Prefectural Board of Education of them until issuing a written report on Jan. 25. Principal Takemoto explained the failure to report the situation in a timely matter by saying, "The students' parents strongly requested that we remain silent until the students were back on their feet."
It was also revealed that in January, 2009, at the insistence of a father whose son had been beaten, the coach had written a document to the principal promising not to use corporal punishment against students. In the written pledge the coach wrote, "I will not repeat this or go too far in my leadership," "I am sorry for having overstepped the bounds of my authority regardless of what the reason may have been," and, "I will reflect deeply on what I have done and give my word that I will not repeat these actions." However, according to school officials, six months after signing the pledge the coach beat male team members in the head with a deck brush seriously enough for them to require stitches.