Gymnastics body to look into harassment scandal

The Japan Gymnastics Association has decided to set up a third-party panel to look into a harassment scandal involving some of its senior members and an Olympic gymnast.

The governing body held an emergency board meeting on Thursday, one day after Sae Miyakawa announced at a news conference that members of the association had harassed her.

Miyakawa was a member of the national team at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Speaking to reporters, Miyakawa acknowledged that her coach, Yuto Hayami, had used violence in his dealings with her. Hayami was disqualified indefinitely by the association for the abuse.

But Miyakawa asked for leniency for her coach and accused the association of "power harassment."

The gymnast said that she was questioned by the association's deputy chief Mitsuo Tsukahara, and his wife Chieko, about her coach's violence.

Miyakawa stated that Chieko Tsukahara, who is in charge of training the women's national team, told her that she had not grown as a gymnast because her coach was not good enough.

Miyakawa said Tsukahara had annoyed and harassed her.

Mitsuo Tsukahara has denied the allegations. He said that he and his wife have done nothing wrong, and that they have always tried to put the athletes first.

The association plans to appoint 3 people to the panel. The findings will be released within 2 weeks.