December 1, 2017
Tokyo- The Japan Sumo Association plans to adopt disciplinary measures in connection with former yokozuna grand champion Harumafuji's assault of a junior wrestler, at a board meeting on Dec. 20, officials said Thursday.
The association held a regular meeting of its board of directors at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan sumo hall on Thursday to receive an update from its crisis management committee on the ongoing investigation into the assault case, which led Harumafuji to retire from the sport.
As the committee reported substantial progress in the probe, the board plans to receive a final report from the panel at an extraordinary meeting on Dec. 20 and adopt punishments for related officials, including Harumafuji's stablemaster, Isegahama, according to the officials.
Ahead of the extra meeting, the board also plans to seek opinions from members of the Yokozuna Deliberation Council, an advisory body to the association.
The high-profile assault case involved Harumafuji, 33, and lower-ranking Takanoiwa, 27, both from Mongolia, at a drinking party held in late October in the western Japan city of Tottori.
Toshio Takano, head of the committee, told the sumo association's board that Harumafuji beat Takanoiwa with his bare hands more than 10 times and hit him on the head several times with a karaoke remote control. Any attack by Harumafuji with a bottle has not been confirmed, Takano said.
Harumafuji, whose real name is Davaanyam Byambadorj, retired from the sumo world on Wednesday, saying he would take responsibility for assaulting and injuring Takanoiwa. He is said to have lost his temper over the junior wrestler's behavior at the party.
Takanoiwa has filed a report of damage with the Tottori prefectural police department.
The sumo association's crisis management committee has questioned Harumafuji, as well as three other wrestlers from Mongolia--Hakuho and Kakuryu, both yokozuna, and Terunofuji in the third-highest rank of Sekiwake--who all took part in the party.
It has not interviewed Takanoiwa due to the refusal of his stablemaster, Takanohana. But Takanohana has expressed his intention to cooperate in the association's questioning after the police probe is completed, according to the officials.
In a related move, the board summoned Hakuho and his stablemaster, Miyagino, and reprimanded them over the top wrestler's recent words and actions related to the assault incident.
In a televised interview on Sunday after winning the championship in the November grand sumo tournament, Hakuho invited the audience at the tournament arena in Fukuoka, southwestern Japan, to join him in giving three rousing cheers at a time when the sumo world was rocked by the violence case.
The board members saw problems with his action, along with other related behavior and remarks, the officials said.
Both Hakuho and Miyagino apologized at the board meeting. Jiji Press
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