December 11, 2017
Tottori- Local police on Monday sent papers to public prosecutors on retired yokozuna professional sumo grand champion Harumafuji on charges of inflicting bodily injuries on a lower-ranking wrestler over drinks in late October.
The prefectural police department of Tottori, western Japan, is believed to have called on prosecutors to indict Harumafuji, 33, or take similar strict action. On Oct. 29, Takanoiwa, the 27-year-old junior wrestler, filed a complaint to the police over injuries he suffered from the assault.
Harumafuji and Takanoiwa, both from Mongolia, have not reached an out-of-court settlement, according to investigative sources.
The Tottori district public prosecutors office will decide whether to indict Harumafuji, taking into account factors such as how much Takanoiwa wants to punish him and the retired wrestler's apologetic stance on the issue.
Causing physical harm to an individual can be punished with up to 15 years in prison or a fine not exceeding 500,000 yen.
According to the sources, Harumafuji is alleged to have hit the junior wrestler in the makuuchi top division on the head with something hard at a drinking party held in Tottori late on Oct. 25 and early Oct. 26 during a regional sumo tour. It took some 10 days for Takanoiwa to recover from the injuries.
Harumafuji, whose real name is Davaanyam Byambadorj, admitted the assault during two police questionings conducted on a voluntary basis, saying he hit Takanoiwa, including with a karaoke remote control.
The former yokozuna told the police that he was very sorry for hurting the junior wrestler physically and psychologically, according to the sources.
Harumafuji allegedly became angry at Takanoiwa during the drinking party for using his smartphone while being scolded by yokozuna Hakuho, and hit the junior wrestler to make him apologize, the sources said.
The police have questioned other wrestlers who were present at the scene, including Hakuho, yokozuna Kakuryu and Terunofuji, who holds the third-highest rank of sekiwake. The three, all from Mongolia, gave similar explanations to Harumafuji, according to the sources.
Harumafuji retired from the sumo world on Nov. 29 to take responsibility for the incident, which attracted keen public and media attention.
At his retirement press conference, he said he believed it was a duty of senior wrestlers to discipline junior wrestlers. He also admitted, however, that he had done this to excess. Jiji Press
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