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Dark Side of the Rising Sun

For all the good things that happened this year, just like anywhere else Japan had its share of problems. In sports, speed skater Kei Saito's doping suspension at the Pyeongchang Olympics, the harassment case around coach Kazuhito Sakae and Olympic gold medalist wrestler Kaori Icho, and the Nihon University football scandal involving head coach Masato Uchida directing a player to deliberately take out the opposing team's quarterback were some of the bigger stories, but in athletics as well there was no shortage of problems. From actions ranging from the individual to the systemic and societal, from doping to corruption to abuse and harassment, a quick list of the year's lows two years out from Tokyo 2020.

Drugs and Injections

'Top Canoeist Suspended for Framing Rival for Doping'

Why is the Number of Doping Offenders Growing in Once-Upon-a-Time Clean Japan?

National Corporate Women's Ekiden Champion Team to be Stripped of Title After Member Tests Positive

Nakamura on Positive Drug Test: "I Had Gynecological Issues I Didn't Want Anyone to Know About"

Official Statement From Corporate Federation Director Nishikawa on Anti-Doping Violation and Sanction

JADA Disciplinary Panel Ruling Against Moeno Nakamura

Iron Injections Remain an Issue in Japanese High School Girls' Distance Running

JAAF Cracking Down on Iron Injection Abuse, to Require Blood Testing at National High School Ekiden

Ethics, Grift and Malfeasance

20 km Racewalk World Record Holder Suzuki Suspended 6 Months for False Expense Claims

Family of Woman Who Died Last Fall Sue Race Organizers After She Fell in Ocean During Race Four Years Ago

Ekiden Runner Who Got Team Disqualified at National Championships Arrested on Fraud Charges

Official Caught Manipulating Results to Get Junior High School Athletes Into National Championships

Two City Council Members Asked to Resign Over Misappropriation of Subsidies for Local Road Race

'National Expenditure for Tokyo Olympics Set to Run 7 Times Over Earlier Budget Estimate: Report'

Komazawa University to Establish Third-Party Committee to Investigate Claims of Strife Between Coach Oyagi and School President

National Corporate Federation Under Investigation for Violation of Antitrust Law in Restriction on Athletes Changing Teams

Coaching Abuses and Athlete Mental Health

Former World Championships Marathoner Hara Arrested Again for Shoplifting Candy

Former World-Class Marathoner Hara Admits to Shoplifting During Athlete Days Due to Coach's Severe Weight Restrictions

How a Former National Team Level Marathoner Developed an Eating Disorder

University Coach Who Lost High School Position After Abusing Students Accused of Abuse

Nittai University Head Coach Masaaki Watanabe Fired Over Abuse Scandal

Star First-Year Quits Toyo University Alleging Violence by Teammates; Teammates Allege He Had a Bad Attitude

Hot Weather and the Tokyo Olympics

Six University Meet Cancels 5000 m Because It Was Just Too Damned Hot

An Endless Heat Wave - Will the Olympics Really Be OK?

Money First for a Midsummer Olympics? Just Can't Say No to Those American TV Dollars

'Call for Tokyo Olympic Marathon to Start at 5.30am to Avoid Deaths'

No Discussion of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Marathon Start Time at IAAF Council Meeting

Sexual Harassment

High School Teacher Suspended for Sexually Harassing Member of Girls' Track Team

JAAF Marathon Project Leader Seko Given Official Warning After Sexual Harassment Accusation by Female TV Announcer

Aging Society

Heisoko Ekiden Cancelled As Race Organizers Get Too Old

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Most-Read This Week

Ichiyama and Kirui Lead Marugame Half Elite Field

Last year's winners Betsy Saina and Edward Waweru, both of Kenya, return to the Feb. 3 Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon, but in both cases they have tough competition. Ranked #1 in the women's race is Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) with a 1:09:14, 3 seconds better than Saina's winning time last year. 3 seconds slower is Sinead Diver (Australia) with a 1:09:20 on home ground last year. Sara Hall (U.S.A.) isn't far behind, and with track star Ayuko Suzuki (Japan Post) making her debut off a brilliant run at last weekend's National Women's Ekiden it should be a solid pack up front.

In the men's race, 2017 marathon world champion Geoffrey Kirui (Kenya) leads the way, his best recent time a 1:00:04 in New Delhi two years ago. Only 2 seconds behind is Shadrack Kiplagat (Kenya), with Evans Cheruiyot (Kenya) and the Japan-based Waweru just over 20 seconds back. Waweru's condition is a question mark after an injury at the New Year Ekiden. Kenta Murayama (Asah…

2019 Japanese Distance Rankings - updated 1/21/19

JRN's 2019 Japanese track and road distance running rankings. Overall rankings are calculated using runners' times and placings in races over 5000 m, 10000 m, half-marathon and marathon and the strength of these performances relative to others in the top ten in each category. Distances will be added as the season progresses. Click any image to enlarge.

Past years:
2018 ・ 2017 ・ 2016・ 2015 ・ 2014 ・ 2013 ・ 2012 ・ 2011

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