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Girls banned from Japan sumo event amid sexism uproar

AFP  |  Tokyo 

Japan's association came under fire for again today after requesting girls be prevented from participating in events showcasing the traditional sport.

has been in the headlines in recent weeks after women providing medical assistance were asked to leave a ring, and a female was barred from giving a speech from the ring.

In the past, girls and boys have both been allowed to get in the ring and grapple with the sport's famously hefty stars at the outreach events.

But an official told AFP that the Sumo Association last week requested girls be barred from participating in a programme for children in prefecture, part of an event designed to showcase the sport to local fans.

The event was held Sunday.

"It is out of safety concerns," a for sumo's governing body told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

She said the safety of boys was just as important, but that the association felt there was a "difference" between the effect that possible scars and injuries could have on girls, compared to boys.

"You must understand the nuances," she said.

"This was not an abrupt decision. For a long time, we have received reports of injuries to children." The request to exclude girls will be made at showcase events in other regions, she added.

The decision made headlines in today, and comes as the sumo association faces allegations of

The rings where sumo is practised, known as the dohyo, are seen as sacred places in the native Shinto faith.

Women, who are considered to be ritually unclean, are barred from stepping into them.

Last week, several women rushed to perform CPR on a male who collapsed in a sumo ring in prefecture while giving a speech.

But multiple announcements were made over loudspeakers asking the women to leave the ring.

The incident made international headlines and the of the sumo association apologised, calling the announcements inappropriate.

Days later, a female from the western city of was barred from delivering a speech inside a sumo ring.

"I'm a female but I am a human being," she said in a speech delivered from a podium outside the ring.

"But because I am a woman, despite being a mayor, I cannot make a speech in the ring." The association's decision to bar girls from the showcase events was widely slammed on

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, April 12 2018. 16:15 IST