The New Year Grand Sumo Tournament could be canceled if wrestlers continue to become infected with the novel coronavirus, the tournament’s chief organizing official said Saturday after five more wrestlers tested positive for the virus.
The 15-day tournament is set to start on Sunday at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan, where a state of emergency has been in force since Friday. So far 65 wrestlers, roughly 10 percent of the number of the Japan Sumo Association’s active competitors, are currently infected.
Sumo elder Oguruma, the JSA director in charge of organizing the tournament, said the association would consider canceling the tournament if new cases are reported during the meet and infectious disease specialists recommend doing so.
“It’s a highly likely scenario… unless there’s a strong reason to reject it,” Oguruma, the former ozeki Kotokaze, said by telephone.
Oguruma said there is no threshold that would trigger cancellation if a fixed number of infections is reached, and said the JSA would have called off the event had the government requested large-scale events not be held.