Eighteen sumo wrestlers at the Tamanoi stable in Tokyo have been confirmed to have the coronavirus.
The Japan Sumo Association says 32 wrestlers were tested after a rank-and-filer at the sumo stable was confirmed to be infected on Saturday. Eighteen of them tested positive, including a Juryo division wrestler, Fujiazuma.
An event to pray for the safety and success of the July Grand Sumo Tournament was held on Saturday at an arena in Tokyo. Only a limited number of sumo officials were allowed to attend due to the coronavirus threat.
Japan Sumo Association Chairman Hakkaku and other stable masters were among those who showed up at the Ryogoku Kokugikan hall.
The Japan Sumo Association says it will hold its July tournament in Tokyo with about 2,500 spectators, roughly 25 percent of the full capacity. The reduction is part of measures against the coronavirus outbreak.
The association made the announcement on Monday. The tournament will start on Sunday at Ryogoku Kokugikan arena.
The Japan Sumo Association is set to cancel its May tournament as the government is preparing to extend the nationwide state of emergency for the coronavirus outbreak until the end of the month.
Multiple sources said that it is difficult for the association to go ahead with the summer grand tournament while the state of emergency is in effect.
The Spring Grand Sumo Tournament opened on Sunday in Osaka, western Japan, without spectators as part of measures to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
Wrestlers and stable masters arrived at the gymnasium by car or taxi. They were told to refrain from using trains, buses and other public transportation to avoid catching the virus.
Officials from the Japan Sumo Association have decided that the spring tournament in Osaka starting on March 8 will be held without any spectators. They took the decision as part of efforts to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.
The members of the association's board meeting have been discussing two options, holding it without any spectators or completely canceling it.