Sumo defendant admits pot use, seeks leniency

KAWASAKI (Kyodo) Fired sumo wrestler Wakakirin pleaded guilty Monday at the Yokohama District Court’s Kawasaki branch to possessing marijuana in late January.

The first trial session in the case concluded with prosecutors demanding a 10-month prison term for the 25-year-old, whose real name is Shinichi Suzukawa, for violating the cannabis control law.

The prosecutors said Suzukawa acted irresponsibly at a time when the Japan Sumo Association was trying to quell drug-related scandals that had tainted the sport’s image.

Suzukawa allegedly claimed he bought the marijuana from a foreigner on Jan. 29 and smoked it twice — once at his sumo stable and once at the office of a CD shop in Tokyo’s Roppongi district.

His lawyers sought a suspended sentence, reckoning Suzukawa has been “socially punished.”