On the 21st, sumo association spokesman Shibatayama addressed reporters about the possibility of a further extension to the state of emergency in Japan. “If it’s extended then we have no choice but to continue in our current state,” he said. Inter-stable practices are still prohibited, and whether the full contact butsukari-geiko is used is up to the judgement of each stablemaster — although presumably, it is highly discouraged at the moment.
In an effort to understand the path that the virus may be taking through the sumo community, antibody tests are being administered to all wrestlers, elders, referees, ushers, etc. Shibatayama explained that there are two or three stables undergoing the tests each day, amounting to about 40 tests in total. The tests, he reassures, are performed in a well ventilated space. At this rate, one month is needed to cover the entire association.
“Does resumption of inter-stable practice depend on the results of the tests? We wont know until we hear from the doctors,” Shibatayama said, taking a more cautious stance than before. And on Friday, after discussing the possible end to the state of emergency in Japan, “Even when the state of emergency is lifted, the sumo association will continue to observe preventative measures,” he added, “These are major protective measures for the wrestlers working towards the July tournament. Even when it is called off (the state of emergency), coronavirus may still be an issue.”
Furthermore, classes for newly recruited wrestlers scheduled for June at the sumo training institute have been canceled. When they will be rescheduled for has yet to be determined.
Source: Nikkan Sports