Sumo-Japanese police refer wrestler to prosecutors over indecent assault

TOKYO: Japanese police have referred a sumo wrestler to prosecutors on suspicion of indecent assault, Kyodo news agency reported on Wednesday, the latest scandal to hit the country's ancient sport.

The incident, which reportedly took place during a 2016 tournament in the southern main island of Kyushu, involved a wrestler in his teens and a woman who was also in her teens, Kyodo said.

Police began investigating after a complaint from the woman. The wrestler, who is currently active in the sport, has denied the charges, it said.

Referring a person to prosecutors is frequently a precursor to arrest. Police and the Japan Sumo Association said they had no comment to make.

The sport's top referee resigned in January over an incident in which he kissed and touched a teenaged referee while drunk.

That followed the resignation of former grand champion Harumafuji in November for injuring a fellow Mongolian wrestler while drinking at a restaurant-bar with other wrestlers.