The Japan Sumo Association on Wednesday began doling out disciplinary measures in the wake of yokozuna Harumafuji's retirement following his assault on another wrestler.
Following meetings of the Yokozuna Deliberation Council, a JSA advisory body, and the association's board of directors, JSA Chairman Hakkaku announced that two yokozuna would be punished for failing to act when Harumafuji injured lower-ranked wrestler Takanoiwa.
Hakuho, who has won more grand sumo tournaments than any wrestler in history, will not receive his salary for January, and will have his pay cut in half in February. Fellow yokozuna Kakuryu will not be paid in January.
The council, which said Harumafuji's acts would have merited his being asked to retire, also recommended Hakuho and Kakuryu be reprimanded for failing to prevent trouble at the incident that occured during a regional tour.
A report on the investigation by the association's crisis management panel that probed the case was filed before the meeting.
Masato Kitamura, chairman of the advisory council, said after the meeting there is a need to lay out clear standards for similar cases that may occur in the future.
"Hakuho and Kakuryu were not able to stop the incident from happening and being taken too far. Their responsibility should not be taken lightly. They should be given a strong warning," Kitamura said.
"Harumafuji, a yokozuna who should be a role model to all wrestlers, showed abusive behavior that led to injury. A yokozuna must bear this heavy responsibility," he said.
A decision on punishment for Takanoiwa's stablemaster Takanohana, who failed to fulfill his required reporting duties as the regional tour director, was delayed by the JSA directors.
Takanohana ran a gauntlet of reporters outside the sport's headquarters at Ryogoku Kokugikan and another at the entrance to his stable without saying a word in response to a barrage of questions.
One member of the JSA board of directors, Tamaki Imai, said, "The disciplinary measures are reasonable, but I can't get into specifics."
After questioning 13 wrestlers, the crisis management panel reported that the trouble occurred when Mongolian wrestlers gathered for a drinking session that lasted from the night of Oct. 25 into the early hours of Oct. 26 at a bar in Tottori, western Japan.
Harumafuji blew up when Hakuho was cautioning the younger wrestlers about their behavior. Takanoiwa, thinking the yokozuna was finished, touched his smart phone. He apologized but Harumafuji glared at him before striking him about the head, first with his bare hands and then repeatedly with a karaoke remote control, when Hakuho put a stop to it.
On Oct. 26 Takanoiwa apologized to Harumafuji and the two shook hands. Thinking that was the end of it, the yokozuna did not report the incident to his stablemaster, Isegahama.
Takanoiwa explained his injuries to Takanohana saying he'd fallen while drunk and was treated for his injuries at a local hospital. He suffered head wounds that required about 10 days to heal and filed a police report on Oct. 29. He was diagnosed at a hospital in Fukuoka with a suspected fracture at the base of his skull, among other injuries.
Takanohana refused to cooperate with the investigation until indicating on Tuesday that Takanoiwa would submit to questioning.
After Wednesday's meetings, Hakkaku volunteered to work the final three months of his term as chairman without pay in order to accept responsibility for the scandal, while Isegahama will step down from the JSA's board of directors.
The chairman agreed with the advisory board's statement that Harumafuji should have been asked to retire, but said that since he had left voluntarily, no further punishment would be meted out.