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Saturday, Dec. 1, 2007

Asashoryu apologizes for causing trouble

Kyodo News

Yokozuna Asashoryu apologized for a misdemeanor that led to a two-tournament ban after arriving back in Japan from his native Mongolia on Friday.

The Japan Sumo Association banned the yokozuna from the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament in September and the Kyushu meet in November after it was revealed that he played in a charity soccer match in Mongolia, although he had asked to be excused from the summer regional tour citing injuries.

The shock of the punishment caused Asashoryu to slump into a depression and he was later diagnosed with a "dissociative disorder" and returned to Mongolia on Aug. 29.

"I have caused everyone a great deal of trouble over this extended period and would like to offer my heartfelt apologies," Asashoryu told a news conference.

"I was asked to play (soccer) in Mongolia whatever it took and that's why I played. I take full responsibility," said Asashoryu.

Asashoryu had been receiving treatment for injuries and a stress disorder the last three months in his homeland.

"Being back in my hometown in Mongolia among family and friends was the good medicine to treat my stress," said Asashoryu.

Asashoryu's suspension was lifted with the conclusion of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament, which wrapped up last Sunday.

The 27-year-old is to take part in a regional tour beginning in Oita Prefecture on Sunday for his first assignment back in Japan.



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