• Kyodo News

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An independent panel whose aim is to introduce reform measures to clean up the scandal-tainted world of sumo proposed a framework Saturday for the Japan Sumo Association to sever ties with the criminal underworld.

In the third meeting of the independent panel, the group suggested that penalties be imposed to prohibit associations with gangsters, so that criminal elements are eliminated from the national sport.

The panel will draw up its final proposal in a fourth meeting on Aug. 12. One of the main topics of discussion will be the issue of gangsters who were provided with premium tickets at venues so they could watch sumo bouts ringside.

Associating with gangsters and illegal gambling will be prohibited and those who commit such offenses will be required to report to the JSA chairman. The proposal also includes setting up a commission that would work in cooperation with police.

The panel has requested that the JSA board review the proposal in the coming days.

A separate special investigative panel will also meet on Aug. 12 to reach a conclusion on the case of former ozeki Chiyotaikai — now sumo elder Sanoyama — who was reported by Shukan Shincho in its July 29 edition to have been involved in illegal gambling.

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