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Japan

Former sumo champion Harumafuji sued for assaulting fellow wrestler in a bar with remote controller

The damages sought by Takanoiwa include medical expenses and foregone salary, as well as benefits and bonuses he could have received had he been able to take part in matches

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 October, 2018, 10:38am
UPDATED : Friday, 05 October, 2018, 10:38am

Sumo wrestler Takanoiwa on Thursday filed a lawsuit seeking 24 million yen (US$210,000) in damages from former grand champion Harumafuji, claiming the Mongolian’s assault last year forced him to miss matches due to injuries and caused him financial losses.

The former yokozuna faced a summary indictment in December for assaulting the lower-ranked compatriot with a remote controller at a lounge bar in the city of Tottori on October 26, causing injuries which took 12 days to heal.

Harumafuji, who announced his resignation in November, avoided a trial and paid a fine of 500,000 yen. But Takanoiwa has been dissatisfied with the retired sumo champion’s way of handling the matter.

The damages he now seeks include medical expenses and foregone salary, as well as benefits and bonuses he could have received had he been able to take part in matches, according to his lawyer.

The civil lawsuit was filed just days after then-Harumafuji held a retirement ceremony. It also came after Takanohana, the master of the stable Takanoiwa belonged to, left the Japan Sumo Association, saying he could not accept the organisation’s conclusion that his complaint over its handling of the assault was groundless.

Takanoiwa and the former yokozuna first held talks concerning an out-of-court settlement late last year, but failed to reach agreement. They tried again to settle at a summary court in August, but that effort too failed.

“Takanoiwa even considered his retirement at an initial stage,” said Toshiji Sato, his lawyer.

Harumafuji had proposed paying 300,000 yen to 500,000 yen during the talks, according to the lawyer.

A lawyer for the former yokozuna, Tsugio Yada, declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying he has yet to go through the legal documents.