Kuwata rejects corporal punishment in sports

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TOKYO (AP) -- Former major league pitcher Masumi Kuwata has spoken out against corporal punishment in sports following the suicide of a Japanese high school student who endured repeated beatings by his basketball coach.

Kuwata, who had a brief career with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2007, said in an interview with National Broadcaster NHK: "I don't think corporal punishment as a form of instruction makes one stronger. I think those teaching sports need to change their methods to fit the times."

According the Osaka municipal board of education, the 17-year-old student told his mother last month he had been struck 30 to 40 times the day before he hanged himself. The 47-year-old coach, whose name has not been disclosed, admitted slapping the teen when he made a mistake and said it was intended to "fire him up," the board said.

Kuwata said he hopes the suicide will lead to reforms in Japan.