Sumo chief apologises after women attempting CPR ordered out of ring

TOKYO: The head of Japan's sumo association has apologised after several women attempting to perform CPR during a medical emergency on Wednesday were asked to leave a sumo ring.

At least two women rushed into the ring in Maizuru, northwest of Kyoto, after a local mayor collapsed while giving a speech.

But as the women attempted to help the mayor, multiple announcements were made over loudspeakers asking them to leave the ring, city official Noriko Miwa said.

The rings where sumo is practised, known as sumo 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.

In a statement, the sumo association's chief, who goes by the name Hakkaku, described the announcements as "inappropriate" under the circumstances.

"The announcement was made by a referee who was upset, but it was an inappropriate act in a situation that involves one's life. We deeply apologise," the statement reported by local media said.

Sumo association officials could not be reached immediately for comment.

Ms Miwa said mayor Ryozo Tatami had been hospitalised and was in a stable condition.

Sumo traces its origins back 2,000 years to a time when it was an integral part of Shintoism. - AFP