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Japan federation chief to resign next month amid scandals

(Reuters) - The head of Japan's Judo federation, Haruki Uemura, will step down from his post next month amid scandals over alleged physical abuse of female athletes and misuse of funds, the Kyodo news agency reported on Tuesday.

Fifteen current and former members of the women's team had sent a complaint to the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) alleging harassment and violence by head coach Ryuji Sonoda and his staff in the build-up to last year's London Games.

The athletes said they had been slapped, shoved and beaten with bamboo. The coach resigned in January before the JOC cut the judo federation's funding following an investigation.

Uemura, chairman of the All Japan Judo Federation, and four other top officials announced their decision to step down during an extraordinary board meeting, according to the report.

Japan is the birthplace of the martial art but the team suffered one of their worst judo medals hauls in London with only one gold after they had been tipped to take home at last seven.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Clare Fallon)

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