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Harassment forced me to quit as Kansai Univ. coach: Ex-figure skating star Oda

Nobunari Oda (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Former Japanese figure skater Nobunari Oda revealed on Sept. 29 that he had stepped down as Kansai University's skating coach due to health problems caused by on-the-job harassment.

"The truth is, I had been suffering with harassment, specifically, moral harassment at the skating rink. This affected my health, and made it impossible for me to go to the rink for three months," Oda, 32, wrote on his blog.

According to his management firm, he was subjected to harassment from other coaches on the team.

In response to Oda's post, Kansai University on Sept. 30 issued a comment stating, "There were differences of opinion over the coaching method within the team." However, when it announced Oda's resignation on Sept. 9, the university had initially explained Oda was too busy to make time for coaching, among other reasons.

The skater also wrote that he "had a conversation with the university with a lawyer present" in July, and the institution had told him it would conduct a harassment investigation and report the results. But Oda did not receive any response and began to distrust the administration.

Kansai University told the Mainichi Shimbun that the school did establish an internal investigative committee in response to Oda's request. The committee spent about one month interviewing all coaches, but could not confirm any harassment, the school said.

Oda competed in the men's singles in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and retired from competitive skating in December 2013. He had assumed the coaching post at Kansai University, his alma mater, in April 2017.

(Japanese original by Hitoshi Kurasawa and Kenji Denda, Sports News Department)

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