Tuesday April 24, 2018
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Sumo in Uproar as Women First Responders Ordered Out of Ring

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Japanese grand sumo champion Yokozuna Kisenosato performs the New Year's ring-entering rite at the annual celebration for the New Year at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan January 9, 2018. VOA
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The head of Japan’s sumo association has apologized over an incident in which women first responders were asked to get out of the ring as they attempted to revive an official who collapsed.

In sumo’s tradition, the ring is considered sacred and women are prohibited from entering.

That posed a problem Wednesday when Ryozo Tatami, the 67-year-old mayor of Maizuru in northern Kyoto, collapsed during a ring-top speech. Two women, apparently medical experts, rushed in and started performing first aid as several male sumo officials surrounding the mayor looked on.

When two more women rose to the ring trying to join the first aid effort, announcements demanded the women get out of the ring.

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“Ladies, please get off the ring,” a sumo referee said, determinedly. “Only gentlemen go up.”

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Footage posted on social media triggered outrage, with many criticizing sumo officials and saying they were choosing tradition over life. Pixabay

Sumo chief Nobuyoshi Hakkaku called the announcement inappropriate and apologized late Wednesday while thanking the women for working to save the mayor.

In a statement, Hakkaku said the announcement was made by an official who panicked after seeing the women in the ring but never touched on the divisive tradition.

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“It was an inappropriate response in a life-threatening situation,” Hakkaku said.

The mayor, who had an acute cerebral hemorrhage, survived and was in stable condition Thursday after receiving emergency surgery at a hospital, city officials said.

The footage posted on YouTube was shown on major Japanese networks and other media as the news topped headlines Thursday.

“Of course it is important to protect tradition, but the way it excludes women perhaps is out of step with the times, and that’s how I feel as a woman,” said Yurika Mita, a newscaster on a Fuji Television Network talk show. “Without the women’s effort, the life of one person might have been lost.”

Sumo’s male-only tradition has raised controversy for decades, with even top women politicians barred from honoring winners in the ring. VOA

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Donald Trump Negotiates Trade Deal With Japan

Trump to negotiate the trade deal with Japan

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Donald Trump is the President of U.S.
FILE IMAGE- Donald Trump

The US President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday he is negotiating a bilateral trade agreement with Japan and that his country would only re-enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) if its member countries offered him a deal he could not refuse.

“I don’t want to go back into TPP. But if they offered us a deal I can’t refuse on behalf of the US, I would do it. In the meantime, we are negotiating, and what I really would prefer is negotiating a one-on-one deal with Japan,” Donald Trump said at a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

However, Abe stressed his country’s position towards the TPP, saying that it “is the best for both countries,” although he acknowledged the US’s interest in a bilateral trade deal, Efe reported.

Trump said that should his country reach a trade agreement with Japan, there will be talks about the possibility of ending tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, a move that Washington introduced in March to a number of countries, including Japan.

Donald Trump and Shinzo Abe.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Trump added that his primary concern at the moment is the “massive” trade deficit with Japan, which amounted to “from $69 billion to $100 billion a year.”

In fact, the trade deficit with Japan last year stood at $69 billion, far from the $100 billion that the US President claimed, according to the official figures by the US Department of Commerce.

The two leaders made these announcements in a joint press conference at the tycoon’s private club Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, where Abe arrived on Tuesday to have meeting with Trump on his four-day visit to the US.

Also Read: China And Russia Accused of Manipulating Their Currencies By Trump

Last week, the White House announced that Trump had asked the US foreign trade representative Robert Lighthizer and the economic adviser Larry Kudlow to “take another look at whether or not a better deal (with the TPP) could be negotiated.”

However, Trump has shown little interest in negotiations that would further complicate the matter, since the other 11 countries that negotiated the original TPP, with the then Barack Obama administration, have already signed their own multilateral deal, the so-called Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), or TPP-11.

Shinzo Abe
FILE IMAGE- Shinzo Abe.

On the other hand, during this four-day visit Abe has a special interest in getting an exemption for Japan from the 10 per cent and 25 per cent tariffs that the Trump administration imposes on aluminum and steel imports, respectively.

Trump has granted a temporary exemption until May 1 to Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, South Korea and the European Union.

Also Read: White House Denies Any Direct Talks Yet Between Trump And Kim

Japan has been left out of the exempted countries despite being one of the US’s major allies, and for that reason Abe is trying to make use of his visit to secure a place on that list, although Japan barely produces aluminum and the amount of steel exported to the US stands at only around 5 percent of its total steel exports.  IANS