• Kyodo


Wakakirin, the 25-year-old sumo wrestler under arrest for marijuana possession, was turned over to prosecutors Sunday.

Wakakirin, whose real name is Shinichi Suzukawa, was apprehended Friday along with musician Tsutomu Hirano, 30, at the office of a CD shop in Roppongi, Tokyo, where they had about 16 grams of marijuana, according to the Kanagawa Prefectural Police.

Hirano was also turned over to prosecutors.

Wakakirin has allegedly admitted possessing the marijuana with the intention of using it, though police said they doubted his explanation of how he smoked it.

He reportedly told investigators he hollowed out a cigar, blended the tobacco with marijuana and put the mixture back into the cigar and smoked it, but a senior prefectural police official said it isn’t normal to inhale cigars in the same way as smoking marijuana.

Wakakirin has also changed his story, initially saying he smoked marijuana regularly and then saying he had smoked it only twice before his arrest.

Police suspect the second-division wrestler smoked pot frequently now that the Japan Sumo Association has revealed he tested positive twice in three urine tests in September. The association apparently buried the results after he passed the third test.

The police said they will continue investigating where he obtained the pot and the number of times he has smoked it in the past.

Before changing his story, Wakakirin told the investigators he obtained the drug from a foreigner on a Roppongi street.

They plan to carry out tests this week on a urine sample he submitted after his arrest to check whether he has used drugs other than marijuana.

Wakakirin made his sumo debut in 1999.

Three Russian sumo wrestlers were the subject of marijuana charges and were expelled from the sport last year. Wakakirin is the first Japanese wrestler to be arrested in a marijuana case.

The public image of the ancient sport has been tarnished recently by a spate of scandals, including the fatal beating of a junior wrestler by his seniors and even his stablemaster, and suspicions of fixed bouts involving some of sumo’s biggest names.

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