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JSA formally turns down Ota's request to present sumo trophy.

OSAKA, March 7 Kyodo

Japan Sumo Association (JSA) chairman Tokitsukaze on Wednesday formally rejected for the second time Osaka Gov. Fusae Ota's request to become the first woman to step onto sumo's raised ring for a trophy presentation.

In a brief meeting with Ota at her office in Osaka, Tokitsukaze explained that the JSA wishes to stick to its policy of ''preserving sumo's traditional culture'' by protecting the ''men only'' tradition in the ancient Japanese sport.

However, Ota, Japan's first female governor who last year made her initial request to present a trophy at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament held annually in Osaka in March, said she would like the JSA to reconsider her request in the future.

''I hope (the JSA) will establish some kind of body that will discuss its current policy'' Ota said, adding that her reasons for wanting to present the trophy were little to do with breaking the men only rule.

''I don't only want to step onto the ring just because I am a woman. The governor of Osaka just happens to be a woman. Traditional reasons are not good enough and I just want some concrete answers as to why this is not being allowed to happen,'' Ota said.

Last Wednesday, Ota made her second request, saying that she wanted an ''opportunity to help sumo pursue a new style'' in its tradition.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Mar 12, 2001
Words:229
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