Sumo: Japan sumo chief apologises after female medics asked to leave ring

In sumo's tradition the ring is considered sacred and women are prohibited from entering. So when some women tried

In February, a sumo wrestler was arrested on suspicion of indecent assault, and last month, Egyptian sumo wrestler Osunaarashi was arrested for allegedly driving without a licence when he got into a vehicle accident in central Japan.

Apparently, the Japanese tradition forbids women from entering the ring on the grounds that is sacred and their presence is considered "unclean".

The judge's announcement, aired through loud speakers at the gymnasium, rekindled the public criticism and prompted Japan Sumo Association Chairman Hakkaku to later issue a statement of apology.

The medics were among a number of people tending to Ryozo Tatami, the 67-year-old mayor of the Kyoto Prefecture city, who collapsed while making a speech Wednesday afternoon.

A video of the event broadcasted on several Japanese channels shows a woman swiftly stepping onto the ring where a few officials surrounded the mayor, moving the men aside to administer CPR. Within seconds, medics rushed onto the stage to help him, but an announcement soon sounded around the arena ordering the female attendants to leave the ring.

The women can then be seen stepping out of the ring, but remaining by the sidelines to supervise the rescue efforts.

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. "We offer a honest apology", said Hokutoumi, who is also known as Hakkaku, the name of the sumo stable he heads. Some on social media said the gesture implied that the women had "dirtied" the ring.

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

Sumo's male-only tradition has caused controversy in the past, with even top female politicians being prohibited from honoring sumo wrestlers.

Former Osaka governor Fusae Ota, who was Japan's first female prefectural leader, was turned down for five years from 2000 to 2004 when she asked the association to allow her into the ring to present the trophy to the champion wrestler.

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