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Nihon U. recognizes harassment of cheerleader but fails to specify countermeasures

This file photo taken on May 25, 2018, shows the Nihon University Kaikan building in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Nihon University's human rights protection body announced on Aug. 22 that it officially recognized the actions of a former head coach of the school's competitive cheerleading club toward a female club member as harassment.

The university intends to "consider the results seriously, and will make efforts to be more careful," the statement said.

However, the university's public relations office only faxed a single-page document, titled, "In regards to the harassment by the cheerleading club's former coach," to media organizations. The body of the text, that constituted just nine lines, avoids mentioning specific descriptions as to what kind of actions by the former coach were deemed harassment and why, and made no reference to specific countermeasures.

According to the female club member and others, the former coach scolded the student in front of other members, claiming she "asked administrative staff to cancel a training session on a snowy day" -- which was not true -- and hurled abusive words at her like, "you are causing shame to the university," when she wore a shirt of her high school cheerleading club.

The female club member's family asked the university's Health and Physical Education Council, which supervises the club, to intervene, but it recommended to "talk to the head coach face to face" and never dealt with the issue.

When news of the harassment broke out on Aug. 9, Nihon University claimed that "the matter is currently under investigation by the human rights protection body" but in fact the school had already dismissed the coach.

(Japanese original by Tamami Kawakami and Yuji Semba, City News Department)

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