HIMEJI, Hyogo -- Japan Sumo Association (JSA) tour director Kasugano apologized here on April 5, after the association ordered women who had climbed up onto the ring the previous day to provide first aid to a collapsed mayor to leave the ring.
"We recognize that it was inappropriate," the former sekiwake told reporters. "We would like to make efforts to be able to handle even sudden situations from now on."
The incident happened during a tour stop on April 4 in Maizuru, Kyoto Prefecture. Mayor Ryozo Tatami collapsed onto the mound while making an opening speech. Several women that appeared to be audience members rushed up onto the ring along with police and staff members to administer CPR and other emergency procedures. However, in response, a JSA representative repeatedly stated, "Please could the women leave the ring." through the public address system.
Women are traditionally prohibited from entering a sumo ring. After reportedly speaking with the referee who was in charge of the announcement system, Kasugano explained, "He was shaken. He was unable to handle the sudden situation and got confused. He said the first thing that came to his mind was that there were women on the mound."
JSA Chairman Hakkaku issued a statement on April 4, saying, "The response was inappropriate considering that someone's life was in danger. I am deeply sorry." (Japanese original by Hironobu Murakoso, Osaka Sports News Department)