The “chairman for life” of the Japan Amateur Boxing Federation (JABF) resigned Aug. 8 after admitting associating with a gangster, as well as misusing a government grant to a boxer.
“As chairman, I am sorry to athletes for causing these problems,” said Akira Yamane, 78, in a news conference here, after which he did not take questions.
Yamane confessed to his past links with an organized crime group on Aug. 7. After an extraordinary meeting of JABF directors that day in Osaka, he said, “It is a fact that I had associations with an anti-social element.”
According to federation sources, the meeting was held after some directors demanded Yamane’s resignation. The JABF plans to set up a third-party committee to investigate Yamane’s misconduct and other allegations.
The undisclosed meeting started at a hotel in Osaka at 4 p.m. and ended soon after 7 p.m. Yamane talked to reporters from around 7:30 p.m.
With regard to Yamane’s ties with a gangster, one of the directors, Teruo Yoshimori, said, “It is wrong to view Yamane as a perfect villain solely on the grounds that he has had such associations.”
Asked whether he thinks it inappropriate for the head of a sports organization to have such connections, Yoshimori said, “It is regrettable to have given anxieties to children and school teachers.”
Daichi Suzuki, commissioner of the government’s Sports Agency, said July 7 that if allegations of Yamane’s links with a gangster were true, he would have to resign as JABF chairman.
“Various problems are damaging the integrity of boxing and all sports. I want to resolve them as soon as possible,” he said.
Yamane assumed the post of JABF chairman in February 2011 after serving as a vice chairman, and in October 2012 he became “chairman for life.” It is rare for an amateur sports organization to make such an appointment.
A group consisting of 333 individuals, including executives of prefectural amateur boxing federations, has filed a complaint with the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) on Yamane’s alleged offenses.
The accusations include bout-rigging and making excessive demands to prefectural federations for luxurious catering, both of which Yamane denies.