Marijuana and Stimulants! Suspicion of a “cover-up” by the university grows in the case of the Nihon University football team. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Marijuana and Stimulants! Suspicion of a “cover-up” by the university grows in the case of the Nihon University football team.

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At 9:07 a.m., the suspect got into a car surrounded by investigators (some images have been doctored)

At around 9:00 in the morning, one person emerged from the dormitory of Nihon University’s American football team in Nakano Ward, Tokyo, surrounded by investigators. The investigators held him by the shoulders as he got into the car, but his face was completely obscured by the jacket that was pulled over his head.

On August 5, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department arrested Shigefumi Kitabatake, 21, a junior on the Nihon University football team, on charges of violating the Stimulants Control Law and the Marijuana Control Law. Kitabatake was a prominent player who was the center of attention at the exchange game against Kwansei Gakuin University held in April for the first time in five years.

When the university searched the dormitory on July 6, they found a dried plant fragment in a packet and two pills in a locked closet in Kitabatake’s room; when the police seized and examined them on July 19, they confirmed that the plant fragment was dried marijuana and detected a stimulant component in the pills. The police searched the dormitory on March 3 and interviewed the Kitabatake suspect.

In the interview before his arrest, Kitabatake stated, “The marijuana was given to me and I received it knowing it was marijuana,” and “I received it without knowing it was methamphetamine. He apparently stated that he did not use it. In this case, only one suspect, Kitabatake, is under investigation, and the fact that he smoked marijuana in a group within the club has not been confirmed.

However, the University of Tokyo football club has received several tips since last year that members of the club were using marijuana. In December of last year, the Metropolitan Police Department also held a drug abuse prevention class at the football team. We wondered if there had been any problems with the university’s handling of the situation.

The university reportedly conducted an investigation into last year’s incident, and as a result, some students admitted to using marijuana. However, the students were neither expelled nor reported to the police. The incident was “covered up. In this case, too, the university discovered the dried plant fragments and pills on July 6, but it took more than two weeks before they were reported to the police. The university’s response to this situation is also being questioned.

In response to the arrest of Kitabatake, Nihon University stated, “We take the situation very seriously and deeply apologize. On August 8, Chancellor Mariko Hayashi and President Takeo Sakai will hold a press conference to explain the background of the problem.

After the “malicious tackling” issue five years ago, the University of Tokyo football team was supposed to have made a successful comeback by reforming its organization, rebuilding the team, and participating in the Koshien Bowl in 2008. Will they be able to clear the “allegations” that have erupted once again?

He was a leading player (from the website of the Nihon University football team)
A tip was received that a member of the football team was smoking marijuana on the roof of the football team’s dormitory.
The suspect’s face was completely unrecognizable.
  • PHOTO. Shinji Hasuo

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