Harumafuji 'taking responsibility as yokozuna'

Harumafuji 'taking responsibility as yokozuna'

Sumo grand champion Harumafuji says he's retiring to take responsibility for his actions and avoid degrading the rank of yokozuna.

Harumafuji is under police investigation for hitting and injuring lower-ranked wrestler Takanoiwa in a pub in Tottori City, western Japan, on October 25th.

The Japan Sumo Association had planned to decide on Harumafuji's punishment after examining the facts. But the yokozuna told the association on Wednesday that he's retiring.

Harumafuji held a news conference later on Wednesday in Dazaifu City, Fukuoka Prefecture, with his stablemaster Isegahama.

The yokozuna spoke to reporters for the first time in 15 days.

Harumafuji began by apologizing for injuring Takanoiwa and causing so much trouble for sumo fans, the association, his supporters and his stablemaster. He then bowed his head for about 20 seconds.

As for why he hit Takanoiwa, Harumafuji said he believes he has a duty to teach younger wrestlers manners and propriety. He said his reprimand resulted in injuries to Takanoiwa and public uproar.

Isegahama declined to give details of the assault, saying the matter is still under investigation.