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Pro figure skater Nobunari Oda goes to court alleging harassment by Kansai Univ. coach

Nobunari Oda (Mainichi)

OSAKA -- Pro figure skater Nobunari Oda has filed a damages lawsuit against a coach of Kansai University's skating club, saying that harassment forced him to quit as manager of the club.

In his lawsuit filed with the Osaka District Court on Nov. 18, Oda, 32, is demanding 11 million yen in damages from 60-year-old coach Mie Hamada. He says he wants to "raise questions about abuses in the figure skating world," and that he will "reveal the truth in court."

According to his lawsuit and other sources, Oda became manager of the skating club at Kansai University -- his alma mater -- in the Osaka Prefecture city of Suita in western Japan in April 2017. However, he clashed with coach Hamada, saying in his lawsuit that she ignored him and angrily told him "your way of thinking is wrong."

Oda says the harassment escalated, and that he became unwell, becoming unable to participate in public exhibitions. He was hospitalized with stress between March and April this year, and left the club in September after becoming unable to instruct members.

In July, before Oda left the club, he had complained to the university of "moral harassment." When approached for comment in the past, the university said that it had set up an investigation team and questioned all coaches, but had not confirmed any harassment or other such behavior.

Oda won the Japan figure skating championships in 2008, and placed seventh in the men's singles at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He retired as a competitive skater in 2013.

(Japanese original by Hiroshi Muramatsu, Osaka City News Department)

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