Ahead of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, the international non-profit group Human Rights Watch denounced the abuse of children in Japanese sports on Tuesday with the martial art of judo cited as a prime culprit. The organization documented incidents of physical, verbal and sexual abuse in calling for the Japanese government to set up a Center for Safe Sport to protect child athletes.
According to the Japan Judo Accident Victims Association between 1983 and 2016 at least 121 children died in Japan while practicing judo, with additional deaths having occurred since then. Those numbers only count deaths in school-related judo classes, not in private dojo for which there's no data available. By contrast, Europe has not reported a single death in judo training over the past five years said Association president Keiko Kobayashi.