JSA readies for suit

The Japan Sumo Association said Thursday it will sue the publisher and managing editor of a weekly magazine that claimed Mongolian-born grand champion Asashoryu has been rigging bouts.

The JSA will file a defamation lawsuit against Kodansha Ltd., publisher of the tabloid-style Shukan Gendai, and will also demand that an apology be published for the allegations made in a recent report by freelance writer Yorimasa Takeda.

In his report, Takeda quoted an unnamed wrestler as saying Asashoryu, who won his 20th Emperor’s Cup last month, pays other wrestlers to lose so he can win more titles.

The JSA conducted an internal investigation, but Asashoryu and 16 other wrestlers mentioned in the report all denied the claims, which centered on last November’s Kyushu tournament. Asashoryu won all 15 of his bouts at the meet.

“I have never done anything like that. Since I was an ozeki, they have written stuff about me, but I am not guilty of anything,” Asashoryu said.

JSA lawyer Keiji Isaji said, “We could have let this go, but this kind of problem comes up once every few years. If you don’t take any action, these kinds of reports will only increase.”

However, Shukan Gendai has stood by the story and its author.

“We are confident about the content of the report,” it said in a statement. “The truth will be revealed, and we believe that it is the Japan Sumo Association that has thrown itself in at the deep end.”