Sumo elder Takanohana, who has been faulted for his absence from the most recent Spring Grand Sumo Tournament and the failure to supervise a wrestler from his stable, was handed a two-rank demotion by the Japan Sumo Association on Thursday.

With the long-standing friction between Takanohana and the governing body still an issue, the JSA faces fears of sumo's popularity suffering further after scandals and criticism that it has failed to address violence outside the ring.

On Thursday, the JSA board met to decide Takanohana's punishment at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan, a day after he apologized for his behavior at an extraordinary meeting for sumo elders.