Mongolian-born grand sumo champion Yokozuna Kakuryu and Hakuho, Japanese grand sumo champion Yokozuna Kisenosato, and sumo champion Takayasu clap their hands as they pray during a ritual ceremony at the start of an annual sumo tournament dedicated to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Japan, April 16, 2018. [Photo/Agencies] TOKYO - A female mayor at the center of a fierce debate over allowing women into the sumo ring vowed on Thursday never to back down as she lodged a formal protest. I won't give up this time around. ... I'm determined to make a petition every six months, Tomoko Nakagawa said before taking her case to the sumo authorities in Tokyo. I want them never to leave this issue vague. I want the association to hear this voice clearly and start a debate on a review. Nakagawa later held a 30-minute meeting with senior sumo officials to urge them to treat men and women equally at ceremonies and events. The officials told her the ban on women entering the ring was tradition but not discrimination but promised to discuss the issue at a meeting of executive officials, Nakagawa told reporters. The association was not available for comment. The issue hit the headlines across the world when two women, one of whom was a nurse, were shooed out of a sumo ring as they tried to help a local mayor after he collapsed while giving a speech in Maizuru, northwest of Kyoto. The rings where sumo is practiced, known as sumo dohyo, are seen as sacred places. Sumo is closely interlinked with the native Shinto faith, which considers women to be ritually unclean, meaning they are barred from stepping into the ring. But Nakagawa, the administrative head of the western city of Takarazuka, described this as discrimination. While emphasizing sumo's prestige and its being the 'national' sport, they are ousting women to promote nationalism, she said. silicone bracelets
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