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Japan to launch probe into alleged abuse

(Reuters) - The Japan Olympic Committee is set to investigate a report that a female gymnast was the victim of physical abuse by a coach, state news agency Kyodo has reported.

The investigation would be the first carried out since the JOC established an office in March for hearing complaints from athletes in the wake of a physical abuse scandal that rocked the All Japan Judo Federation.

A coach who has been questioned by the JOC regarding the complaint told Kyodo News: "Whoever the whistle blower is, it could be someone who quit the club, but within the club there are athletes who dislike their coaches. But regardless, I have never raised my hand to an athlete. I have no recollection of ever doing so."

The JOC began looking into this case in July.

"If the investigation reaches some conclusion, then we will make it public," a JOC source told Kyodo.

"We can't say anything now except that we are investigating."

The JOC was not available for comment when contacted by Reuters.

The Japan Gymnastic Association is also conducting its own investigation and if it is determined that physical abuse was employed in training, it will take disciplinary measures, Kyodo said.

However a top executive of the association told the Japanese news agency: "Our investigation is not proceeding because we are unable to interview the alleged victim, who has taken her complaint to the JOC."

(Writing by Ossian Shine in London, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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