Sumo: Asashoryu wins defamation suit
Company ordered to pay millions of yen in damages. -AFP
TOKYO, JAPAN - Japan's sumo authority and grand champion Asashoryu won a defamation suit against a top publishing house Thursday as a court ordered the company to pay millions of yen in damages.
The Tokyo District Court ordered Kodansha Co. to pay more than 40 million yen (US$410,000) to the Japan Sumo Association and 30 wrestlers, including Mongolian wrestler Asashoryu, a court spokesman said.
Asashoryu alone got 11 million yen in damages, while the association was awarded 6.6 million yen, the official said.
The Weekly Gendai published by Kodansha had alleged 28-year-old Asashoryu, whose real name is Dolgorsuren Dagvadorj, was playing a major role in rampant bout-fixing.
The freelance journalist who wrote the article and a Kodansha official were ordered to pay the damages together with the publisher, which was also ordered to retract the defamatory article.
The victory came after the Tokyo court ruled three weeks ago that the magazine wrongly accused a legendary sumo champion of fixing bouts for money. Kodansha was ordered to pay 15.4 million yen in compensation in that case.
The sumo association welcomed the latest ruling.
'We are pleased to have won following the March 5 ruling,' the association said in a statement.
'It is very significant that the court recognised that the Weekly Gendai's match-fixing accusation against Asashoryu and 29 other wrestlers were groundless,' it said.
The weekly's chief editor said he would consider appealing the ruling, as the publisher had done in the earlier case.
A series of scandals has recently hit the 2,000-year-old sport, including the death of a trainee after a beating by other wrestlers in his stable and several cases of marijuana use.
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