International nongovernmental organization Human Rights Watch released a report Monday that found violence and other forms of abuse were widely experienced by Japanese children participating in sports.

In a survey of 381 respondents aged 24 and younger, 19 percent said they had been "hit, punched, slapped, kicked, knocked to the ground, or beaten with an object" while taking part in sports.

Supplied photo shows an online press conference held by the international nongovernmental organization Human Rights Watch.(Kyodo)

The report, titled, '"I Was Hit So Many Times I Can't Count" Abuse of Child Athletes in Japan,' also found 18 percent of respondents had been verbally abused.

The NGO contacted over 800 current and former child athletes through interviews and an online questionnaire, including some who had been part of Olympic or Paralympic programs.

With the postponed Olympics and Paralympics a year away, Japan should prioritize reforms to protect child athletes, HRW said. Its key recommendations include a new national law banning all forms of abuse by coaches against children in organized sport.

"Participation in sport should provide children with the joy of play, and with an opportunity for physical and mental development and growth. In Japan, however, violence and abuse are too often a part of the child athlete's experience," HRW said in the report.

While some individual sports have taken steps to stamp out abuse -- such as the judo establishment following publicized cases of violence and power harassment in the women's national team -- HRW said a unified approach was necessary.

Among its other recommendations, the report proposes the creation of an independent national administrative agency with the authority to investigate and deal with cases of child abuse in sports.