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Friday, March 7, 2008

JSA moves to suspend wrestlers

OSAKA (Kyodo) The Japan Sumo Association said Thursday it has decided to suspend from competition three wrestlers indicted for the assault and subsequent death of a 17-year-old junior wrestler last June. In an extraordinary meeting at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium, JSA Chairman Kitanoumi insisted that the wrestlers be fired, but other board members argued they should not have to face the same fate as their former stablemaster Junichi Yamamoto, who allegedly instructed them to beat Takashi Saito and was sacked in October. Yamamoto, 58, and the wrestlers are suspected of causing Saito to die from multiple traumatic shock by beating him with metal bats and wooden sticks. They subjected him to excessive sparring sessions on June 25 and 26 last year at the Tokitsukaze stable's lodging place in Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture, prior to a tournament in Nagoya. "We understand the seriousness of a person's death in this incident," Kitanoumi said. "Other board members are also prepared to take severe action after the wrestlers are convicted."

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