National / Crime & Legal

Former yokozuna Harumafuji sued over 2017 assault

Kyodo

Sumo wrestler Takanoiwa filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking ¥24 million ($210,000) in damages from Harumafuji, claiming the former yokozuna’s assault last year forced him to miss matches due to injuries and caused him financial loss.

Harumafuji faced a summary indictment in December for assaulting the lower-ranked fellow Mongolian wrestler with a remote control at a lounge bar in the city of Tottori on Oct. 26, causing injuries which took 12 days to heal.

Harumafuji, who announced his resignation in November, avoided a trial and paid a fine of ¥500,000. But Takanoiwa has been dissatisfied with the retired sumo champion’s way of handling the matter.

The damages he now seeks include medical expenses and foregone salary, as well as benefits and bonuses he could have received had he been able to take part in matches, according to his lawyer.

The civil lawsuit was filed just days after Harumafuji held a retirement ceremony. It also came after Takanohana, the master of the stable Takanoiwa belonged to, left the Japan Sumo Association, saying he could not accept the organization’s conclusion that his complaint over its handling of the assault was groundless.

Takanoiwa and the former yokozuna first held talks concerning an out-of-court settlement late last year, but failed to reach an agreement. They again tried to settle at a summary court in August, but that effort failed as well.

“Takanoiwa even considered his retirement at an initial stage,” said Toshiji Sato, his lawyer.

Harumafuji had proposed paying ¥300,000 to ¥500,000 during the talks, according to the lawyer.

A lawyer representing the former yokozuna, Tsugio Yada, declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying he has yet to go through the legal documents.