The Japan Sumo Association on Friday accepted the retirement of a sumo wrestler who repeatedly choked and bullied a lower-ranked apprentice wrestler at the stable run by Bulgarian-born former ozeki Kotooshu.
The JSA's board of directors handed the stablemaster a 10-percent cut for three months from the paycheck he receives for overseeing his Naruto stable, where the fourth-tier sandanme wrestler subjected an underage wrestler to a judo-style choking move as punishment for failing in his duties.
At Friday's extraordinary meeting at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan, the board of directors agreed that the sandanme wrestler's acts were grounds for requesting his retirement following an investigation by the JSA's compliance committee.
Despite the sumo association's efforts to terminate physical abuse, Japan's ancient sport has been rocked by a string of scandals involving violence for more than a year.
Two other apprentice wrestlers at the Naruto stable also received disciplinary measures from the JSA for abusing the same victim under the orders of the sandanme wrestler. An overage wrestler was given a warning, while an underage wrestler was given a minor punishment.
The abuse at the Naruto stable began around last September and occurred about 10 times up to January. The victim lost consciousness during some of the attacks.
According to the JSA, the victim had put the matter in the association's hands rather than go to the police. Stablemaster Naruto told the JSA on Jan. 13 after being informed of the situation from his staff.
The sandanme wrestler was held back from last month's New Year Grand Sumo Tournament after admitting to his acts.
In 2017, former grand champion Harumafuji retired for beating then-maegashira Takanoiwa when Mongolian wrestlers gathered for a drinking session. In December, roughly a year after he was hospitalized for concussion, Takanoiwa himself resigned after hitting an apprentice at his Chiganoura stable.
The JSA announced in December mandatory punishments for those who physically abuse fellow wrestlers, and conducted workshops to remind the higher-ranked wrestlers how to treat their subordinates.