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Saturday, March 13, 2004

Osaka governor urged to snub sumo

OSAKA (AP) A government panel has weighed into Osaka governor Fusae Ota's long-standing feud with the Japan Sumo Association over her request to enter the sumo ring.

For several years, Ota has pressed sumo's governing body to allow her to enter the ring to present an award to the winner of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament, which begins here Sunday.

Since her election in 2000, the Japan Sumo Association has banned Ota from presenting the prize to the tournament winner, arguing that women have traditionally been prohibited from entering the ring.

On Friday, Kyodo News reported that the Osaka prefectural (state) audit committee urged the governor's office not to award the state-funded prize ssaying the association's refusal to let women enter the ring is "unfavorable."

Despite mounting pressure to allow Ota to enter the ring, the Japan Sumo Association has taken an uncooperative stance on the issue.

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