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Monday, 6th October 2008
In Sports,

Top Japan sumo wrestler retires

One of Japan's top sumo wrestlers retired on Sunday before court proceedings begin this week relating to the death of a junior wrestler at his former stable.

Tokitsuumi, a Makuuchi sumo wrestler, the highest division in the sport, formally retired in a ceremony at the Ryogoku Sumo Hall in Tokyo, Japan, on Sunday, reports The Mainichi Daily News.

His retirement comes before the sumo legend is due to appear as a witness at the Nagoya District Court on Wednesday, with the trial of Junichi Yamamoto, who is under indictment over the death, beginning on Tuesday, the article noted.

Yamamoto was the previous head of the Tokitsukaze stable before Tokitsuumi took over the role a year ago.

Former Japan Sumo Association chairman and another Tokisukaze head coach, Katsuo Uchida, performed the retirement ceremony.

"I believe he's only half-willing to retire," Mr Uchida told the newspaper. "This is a sad duty for me."

Sumo wrestling is Japan’s national sport and six major tournaments are held each year, with three in Tokyo and the remaining competitions in Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka.

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