Wednesday September 19, 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.”

sumo
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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A Start Up Company From Japan To Launch ‘Love Satellites’

If this service receives a good response, Warspace would expand its business and will send out more commemorative objects into space.

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Japan Love satellite
.Japanese firm to launch love satellites. Flickr

A Japanese start-up linked to the University of Tsukuba is set to launch small satellites with commemorative titanium plaques carrying love messages into space by the end of 2019, the company said on Monday.

Those interested would be able to engrave messages of their choice on the plaques, which would be 1.8 centimeters long and 0.8 centimeter wide, set to be carried to space aboard the satellites and orbit around the Earth for around two years before being destroyed, Efe reported.

Around 10 centimeters in size, the CubeSat satellites would be able to carry up to 600 pure titanium plaques and would be transported to the International Space Station (ISS) by a rocket of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Japan Love satellite
Around 10 centimeters in size, the CubeSat satellites would be able to carry up to 600 pure titanium plaques

In the ISS, the astronauts stationed there will take photographs of the ultra-small satellite which would be then sent to the couples to prove that their messages have reached space, Warspace CEO Toshihiro Kameda said.

The start-up had planned to offer this service exclusively to the couples getting married at a hotel in Tsukuba, in Ibaraki prefecture, for the price of $270, but in the face of growing demand it decided to expand its offer and set up an online order facility in September.

Although they have not determined the number of people interested in the service yet, couples from Japan, the US and Taiwan have contacted the company.

Japan Love satellite
University of Tsukuba, Japan. Flickr

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The mini satellites and the plaques would be destroyed after two years by burning up when they come in contact with Earth’s atmosphere, said Kameda, a professor who teaches the mechanics of materials at the University of Tsukuba.

If this service receives a good response, Warspace would expand its business and will send out more commemorative objects into space which would later return to Earth, the head of the project said. (IANS)