Disgraced ozeki seeks return to sumo ranks

Kyodo News

Disgraced former ozeki Kotomitsuki filed an injunction with a court Monday to be reinstated in sumo, arguing the sport’s governing body unfairly dismissed him over this summer’s baseball gambling scandal.

A lawyer for the 34-year-old Kotomitsuki, who was sacked by the Japan Sumo Association for his involvement in the scandal, revealed that the former wrestler asked the association for a full explanation of his dismissal. Kotomitsuki, whose real name is Keiji Tamiya, considered the reply insufficient and lodged the injunction with the Tokyo District Court.

“I have not heard the details,” sumo association chairman Hanaregoma said in a prepared statement. “We are leaving everything in the hands of our lawyers.”

Kotomitsuki admitted to being involved in the gambling ring but initially lied in parts of his testimony to the association, whose board moved to fire him.

He was the first ozeki to be dismissed from the sport.

His lawyer said the association made an unfair example out of the wrestler.

“In the injunction, we pointed out that there was too much of a discrepancy in the way the wrestlers were punished,” the lawyer said.