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NAGOYA (Kyodo) Two sumo stable masters face disciplinary action after they were found to have given senior underworld figures front-row tickets for a tournament last year.

Aichi police said more than 50 members of the Kodokai yakuza group watched matches during the 15-day Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament last July from front-row seats, for which tickets are normally allocated to major supporters who have made significant monetary contributions to the Japan Sumo Association.

The revelation came during recent questioning of the stable masters, one aged 40 and the other 64, during which they claimed they never were aware the tickets would find their way into the hands of the mob, the police said, without further identifying the pair.

The JSA has confirmed the Kodokai members obtained tickets linked to the sumo elders apparently via a third person, and is considering disciplining the two stable masters.

Tokyo police meanwhile said members of the same underworld group watched the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament from front-row seats at Ryogoku Kokugikan in January.

Sources said the mobsters involved in both cases apparently tried to get themselves front-row seats at the sumo ring for the tournaments that were broadcast on television to imprisoned members of their group and affiliates.

Such imprisoned members include Kenichi Shinoda, the boss of Yamaguchi-gumi, the top underworld syndicate.

Brokers to screen

Kyodo News

The Japan Securities Dealers Association may set up a database to help member brokerages screen new clients for underworld links, sources said Wednesday.

The JSDA, the brokerage industry’s self-regulating group of about 300 members, has been mulling such preventive measures in close cooperation with police.

A voluntary regulation that goes into force in July obliges JSDA member entities to ban business with such “antisocial” groups and the database would be part of the regulatory action, they said.

The Japan Federation of Construction Contractors and the Japanese Bankers Association have similar rules but the JSDA rule is stricter as it introduces penalty charges to member brokerages that violate the rule, the sources said.

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