Spring Sumo Tournament Canceled: Match-Fixing Extinguishes the Fire in the Ring

Spring Sumo Tournament Canceled: Match-Fixing Extinguishes the Fire in the Ring
Yomiuri Shimbun: 春場所中止 八百長が土俵の火を消した
Staff Editorial, February 7, 2011

After this, will sumo still be the national sport? With the situation growing so dire that a grand tournament has been canceled, the Japan Sumo Association is fighting for its survival.

The match-fixing scandal has so shaken the association that it has canceled the two-week spring tournament scheduled to begin March 13 in Osaka.

This is the first time a major tournament has been canceled in 65 years; in 1946, during the chaotic post-war period, a tournament was canceled because the Ryōgoku Kokugikan stadium was under renovation. There has never been a cancellation for scandal. As long as the history of the sport is, this is a black mark that will be hard to erase.

The association still does not have the understanding of the fans. Investigating the fourteen suspected wrestlers will take time. That is the reason for the cancellation. Director Hanaregoma says “until we empty the ocean, we cannot let the wrestlers back into the ring.”

The Sumo Association’s top priority is to fully understand the extent of the match fixing and to harshly punish the offenders. With that in mind, the cancellation of the spring tournament was unavoidable.

If honest competition is important in sumo, then match-fixing is a total rejection of that. It is also a betrayal of the white-hot passion of the fans.

Since there is only one tournament in Osaka per year, many fans are feeling disappointed. But the current state of affairs has cast doubt even on the wrestlers not related to the scandal. If we have suspicions about what happens inside the ring, sumo can no longer be called the national sport.

The detailed testimony will be heard by a special investigative committee of outside lawyers. All sumo wrestlers will complete a questionnaire confirming or denying their involvement in match-fixing. In this case, a normal investigation is not enough to learn the whole truth.

Some of the 14 suspected wrestlers have already admitted to involvement, dispelling the notion that nothing is the matter. The guilty parties should be banned from the sport.

The Sumo Association enjoys special tax protection. It must not forget its responsibility to take measures that are acceptable to our society.

春場所中止 八百長が土俵の火を消した(2月7日付・読売社説)













(2011年2月7日01時07分 読売新聞)

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