TOKYO — Japan's police chief has vowed to smash the murky links between sumo and yakuza organised crime after a widening scandal over illegal gambling led to the arrest of a former wrestler.
The biggest scandal to tarnish Japan's ancient national sport in years has led big-name sponsors to pull out millions and put in doubt whether national broadcaster NHK will show the summer tournament next month.
Governing body the Japan Sumo Association has said 29 unnamed wrestlers had admitted to illegal gambling, although media reported that 36 others also had bet on cards, baseball, golf and other pursuits.
As investigators seek to untangle the links between the big boys of sumo and the bad boys of the Japanese mafia, police on Thursday arrested a former wrestler, Mitsutomo Furuichi, 38, on extortion charges.
(AFP. June 25, 2010.)