Spring Sumo Tournament to Be Held without Spectators

Sports

Osaka, March 1 (Jiji Press)--The Japan Sumo Association said Sunday this year's spring grand sumo tournament will be held without spectators, in response to the spread of the new coronavirus in the country.

The decision was made at the professional sumo governing body's board meeting held in the western Japan city of Osaka on the day. The coming 15-day grand tournament will take place at Edion Arena Osaka in the capital of Osaka Prefecture from March 8 to 22.

A grand tournament will be held behind closed doors for the first time since the summer tournament of 1945, during World War II.

The latest decision came after the Japanese government called on event organizers to take steps to prevent the further spread of the virus, such as scaling down or canceling the events.

"We do hope to hold the spring tournament for fans who are looking forward to the competition. We'll stage the tournament for sumo fans across the nation," Hakkaku, head of the association and former yokozuna sumo grand champion Hokutoumi, said, explaining the reason for not opting to cancel the spring tournament.

臨時理事会を終え、記者会見する日本相撲協会の八角理事長=1日午後、エディオンアリーナ大阪

日本相撲協会の臨時理事会に臨む八角理事長(右から2人目)ら=1日午後、エディオンアリーナ大阪

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Jiji Press