Sumo Goes Off the Air

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Off the Air

Tokyo -- NHK, the national television network, is carrying through with its threat not to broadcast the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament due to a large-scale scandal involving gambling and yakuza gangsters.

This action is unprecedented: NHK has aired every major sumo tournament live since 1953.

NHK is responding to a Japanese public that is very angry with the scandal, and to the perception that the sumo world has yet to take sufficient concrete actions to clean up its act.

On Sunday, Ozeki Kotomitsuki and sumo elder Otake were forced into retirement and about a dozen other wrestlers suspended.

The chairman of the Japan Sumo Association (JSA) Musashigawa has also been suspended from his leadership post.

However, National Public Safety Commission Chief Hiroshi Nakai says that not all JSA members are cooperating with investigators.

Sports Minister Tatsuo Kawabata is also demanding that sumo sever all links with the underworld.

Yakuza bosses have been seen sitting in VIP seats near the dohyo in recent tournaments.

Major tournament sponsors, such food-maker Nagatanien and Fuji Xerox, have already cancelled their support for the July event.

In spite of the absence of live television coverage, the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament will still be held as scheduled from July 11 to July 25.

PanOrient News

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