Japanese Olympic judo champion loses rape appeal


TOKYO: Japanese double Olympic judo gold medalist Masato Uchishiba lost an appeal on Wednesday against a five-year jail sentence for raping a teenage student.

The Tokyo High Court upheld a lower court’s verdict, rejecting his repeated claim that the sex was consensual, but Uchishiba’s defense counsel immediately appealed the case to the Supreme Court.

Uchishiba, 35, was feted as a national hero after bringing home gold medals in the 66kg class during the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.

In February, the married judoka was convicted of the assault on a member of a college judo club he was coaching after she fell asleep in a Tokyo hotel following a night out.

Prosecutors said the incident occurred in September 2011, when the women’s judo club from Kyushu University of Nursing and Social Welfare had been on a visit to Tokyo.

“The victim was considerably exhausted after judo training and drank alcohol,” judge Akira Kanaya of the Tokyo High court said, according to the Jiji Press news agency.

The judge said that he had faith in the girl’s testimony that “she was assaulted when she woke up in bed”. The victim is not being identified publicly because of the nature of the crime.

On the other hand, the judge said Uchishiba’s testimony was “not trustworthy as it is unnatural and irrational.”



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