The Japan Sumo Association apologised on Thursday after a sumo judge ordered women, including a physician, out of the ring while trying to administer first aid to the mayor because women are considered "ritually unclean" in the sport and are barred from stepping into them.
The incident happened in Kyoto after Maizuru City Mayor Ryozo Tatami collapsed while delivering a speech.
"I think it is all right for women to get on the ring when there is a reason to do so", Arai told Reuters.More news: Tag: Gender Pay Gap
The scandal-stricken sport of sumo wrestling was once again heaped in shame after the incident yesterday when the mayor of a town in Kyoto prefecture suddenly collapsed while giving a speech in the sumo ring.
Sumo Association Chairman Hakkaku issued an apology later in the day, calling the referee's response inappropriate. "Without the women's effort, the life of one person might have been lost". "We deeply apologise", the statement reported by local media said. Two women, apparently medical experts, rushed in and started performing first aid as several male sumo officials surrounding the mayor looked on.
"Of course it is important to protect tradition, but the way it excludes women perhaps is out of step with the times, and that's how I feel as a woman", said Yurika Mita, a newscaster on a Fuji Television Network talk show.More news: ISIS claims responsibility for deadly attack on Christian family in Pakistan
The incident comes at a hard time for sumo in Japan. The practice was also criticized on social media. Fusae Ohta, the female governor of Osaka from 2000 to 2008, was forced to present the governor's prize to the champion of the annual Osaka tournament on a walkway next to the ring.
Shinto ceremony blessing the ring. The two women were attempting to perform a CPR, but multiple announcements were made over loudspeakers asking them to leave the ring, as told to AFP.
The tradition drew public attention for the first time in 1978, when a 10-year-old girl advanced to the final round of a children's sumo championship. She too found herself banned from the ring. The request was rejected.More news: Cardi B to become Jimmy Fallon's first Tonight Show co-host