Sumo body questionsKyodo News Service
wrestlers over alleged
TOKYO, April 13 -- The Japan Sumo Association (JSA) said Thursday that it has questioned its wrestlers about allegations of bout rigging raised early this year by former grappler Keisuke Itai.
Sumo elder Wakamatsu, head of the JSA's public relations committee, said "We could not confirm anything factual about the alleged bout rigging. We want to make a formal announcement of our inquiry in a few days."
JSA officials and lawyers questioned 18 wrestlers at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan on Wednesday.
The 18 had been named by Itai as participants in bout rigging, known as "yaocho" in Japanese, during two separate press conferences at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan (FCCJ) in Tokyo in January and February.
The JSA has denied the existence of bout rigging in sumo and sent a letter of protest to Itai, who reached the fourth-highest rank of komusubi during his career.
The wrestlers association, headed by yokozuna Akebono -- one of the wrestlers named by Itai, has also decided to protest Itai's allegations and coordinate its actions with the JSA.
The JSA and its lawyers said that depending upon Itai's response to their letter, it may be necessary to take legal measures.
In his second appearance at the FCCJ in February, Itai refused to apologize to the JSA, maintaining that he was certain he could win a legal showdown with the sumo association.
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Kyodo News Service