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Akinomaki

NSK new corporate status Hyogi-inkai and myoseki

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Follow-up to: Shisho-kai convenes-September 29th 2011


The committee with the longest name on earth- "Public Service Corporation System Reform Counter-measure committee" convened today and came up with a three-point suggestion as to the future of the toshiyori myoseki (stocks).
1. A retiring heya-owning Oyakata will turn the stock over to the Kyokai for a fixed fee (merit bonus) in addition to the regular retirement pay and other monies owed.
2. After this point the stock cannot be bought or sold privately.
3. The successor of the heya can be recommended by the retiring Oyakata but will have to be deemed "appropriate" by the rijikai.
These three points will be the basis of the new agreement. The exact sum of the merit bonus and other particulars will be discussed at a later date. Punishments for those who refuse to abide by the new rules will also be decided soon.

On the 24th was another meeting of the committee. The merit bonus will be thought over. The oyakata should get it when the kyokai takes over their myoseki, for which central management by the NSK has been decided already.
Among the oyakata the voices are strong to get instead of the bonus the right to determine their successor.
So far the plan to pay 30 million yen to each myoseki holder had been fixed.
At the oyakata council meeting on the 18th the opinion was often heard, that thinking of the kyokai finances, they (the oyakata) won't get it (the sum).
The committee will respect the opinion of the council.
Next under new rules punishment for selling myoseki privately will be thought over.
from Sankei sports

Should they sell the Kokugikan as long as they still own it to pay the merit bonus ?

Edited by Akinomaki

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This story has been going in circles since February, and I don't believe anything is really fixed at this time. As far as I can tell there's essentially a lock-up between a (slowly shrinking, I think) group of Hanaregoma loyalists who want to push through his reform package, and various other groups who were hopeful that Kitanoumi's election would allow them to renegotiate the reforms in part or in whole, which is indeed what's happening now. Add in the lack of funds after the disaster year they had in 2011, and you have a framework that appears to be changing twice monthly right now. The alleged amount of money has steadily dropped from 100 through 50 to currently 30 million yen, and even that appears doubtful and possibly even fiscalling infeasible at the moment.

And the notion that it's possible to have oyakata give up all financial claims (even privately negotiated ones) just for the right to name their successor is...unfathomable. The only possible reason it's even being suggested must be that they believe the penalty regulations will end up completely toothless. For those getting lost right about now: The idea is that Oyakata A will be able to suggest Rikishi B as his successor, but without any compensatory claim allowed; should it be discovered that money was handed over in some way, Rikishi/Oyakata B will be subject to draconian penalties, up to being thrown out of the Kyokai. Does anyone really believe they're going to find a majority for a credible implementation of that?

And I don't see what selling the Kokugikan would accomplish. If they get into a situation where they'd have to give it up, they're simulatenously in position to just leave everything as-is in the kabu realm (i.e. private sale and purchase, no central management) and not need to pay any merit money whatsoever.

In any case, a recent Asahi article quoted an unnamed oyakata, "at that amount [30m yen], there are guys with suicide potential among us".

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New article but nothing much new

The oyakata are desperate to keep their right to sell and buy myoseki privately

The kyokai put their proposal to the Mombusho in January to pay the merit bonus to the oyakata and take over the management of the myoseki step by step.

To apply for the new public interest corporation status the end of June is the time limit. The kyokai promised to decide on the details of the reform proposal. The oyakata council talk against the merit bonus brings new confusion.

One kyokai official said: the voices that inside the kyokai a merit bonus is unnecessary are growing bigger

From Mainichi

Edit: Sorry, I tend to omit details - sometimes that may lead to misinterpretation

Edited by Akinomaki

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New article but nothing much new

The oyakata are desperate to keep their right to sell and buy myoseki privately

The kyokai put their proposal to the Mombusho in January to pay the merit bonus to the oyakata and take over the management of the myoseki step by step.

To apply for the new public interest corporation status the end of June is the time limit. The kyokai promised to decide on the details of the reform proposal. The oyakata council talk against the merit bonus brings new confusion.

One official said: the voices that inside the kyokai a merit bonus is unnecessary are growing bigger

From Mainichi

Good luck to them! On a quite different list I'm on, there is a continuing discussion about the low level thinking of the average Japanese civil servant, who got his position simply by learning the "right" answers to the university entrance exams, and will forever go with the flow because he's scared of losing his step on the hierarchy ladder. These Education Ministry officials will never get a grasp of the Sumo Kyokai (both the good and the bad parts) because they are living in a totally different world.

FWIW, Orion

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The committee concerning the public interest status convened on the 12th.

The merit bonus is cancelled, the kyokai will manage the myoseki without paying the holders.

Buying and selling will be prohibited. If a case becomes known, a penalty will be imposed.

For determining the successor of a myoseki, a commission to examine the qualifications will be established.

According to committee member Takehisa Fukasawa (former Supreme Court judge), if a flow of money is detected, the successor has to hand over the myoseki to the kyokai. This means losing his oyakata status and getting thrown out of the kyokai.

If not detected, nothing happens, meaning the old system may continue. Fukasawa speaks of a document to be signed, attesting that no money was involved.

The qualification commission (oyakata and others) will take into account the accomplishments of the active career, leadership ability and character and will ask for the final decision by the riji-kai.

From Mainichi

Meanwhile the application to become a public interest corporation will be delayed to July or later.

Ikazuchi Riji and others will visit on the 14th the cabinet bureau (which gives the permit for transition to a public interest entity) and the Mombusho on the 18th.

On the 19th all oyakata (and more) in the hyogiinkai and the rijikai will decide (finally?) on the myoseki question.

From Hochi

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Not mentioned yesterday: the holder of the myoseki can name his successor, but then it goes to the evaluation commission.

During the Nagoya basho, on July the 15th, the public interest committee will meet.

According to Nikkan, the Mombusho as the supervising body is still suggesting the old road map proposal, already submitted by the kyokai, to pay the merit bonus. One committee member remarked that change is possible.

In addition to returning the myoseki by the new holder, in case of money transfer detected, the former holder has to return the money.

A contact office to gather information about infringements will be established.

Many ways of evading the rules are imaginable: When a heya gets transferred, the price of the myoseki could be included in the money for the premises. A kind of care allowance for the former holder paid by the new one.

And the issue of the kyokai helping the oyakata who have huge credits to pay back calls for aid during a transition period. (Sankei)

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Many ways of evading the rules are imaginable: When a heya gets transferred, the price of the myoseki could be included in the money for the premises. A kind of care allowance for the former holder paid by the new one.

Or an outright return to the old practice of formally adopting your successor into the family...

I'll be a bit surprised if the meeting on the 19th really brings majority support for these proposals.

Edited by Asashosakari

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Hyogiinkai and Rijikai today decided against the merit bonus. One big reason is that last year the kyokai had a loss of about 4800 million yen.

The treatment of the myoseki in effect may remain close to the present procedure, thus there is concern the big sums will again be involved.

Next the penalties for infraction of the ban on money-transfer will be discussed.

It was decided that the virtual sacking of the new holder in such a case will become a written rule.

It is said there was no objection in the Hyogiinkai.

After the change to the public interest corporation status, the top legislative authority will be the Board of Councilors, Hyogiinkai (another one).

The Hyogiin (councilors) will be selected by a committee of 5.

For this Toshiyorikai-kaicho Isutsu-oyakata, external Kyokai kanji Okabe (priest from a Koyasan temple and headmaster) and Kyokai office staff top, director Yasuda were elected. The remaining 2 external members will be selected soon.

Edited by Akinomaki

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Public relations chief Hakkaku-oyakata commented "There was the opinion that distributing the money of the kyokai is preposterous. There was the decision to reconsider it."

Although vested interest is about to get snatched away from the oyakata, there was not much opposition. The hyogiinkai was over in just 20 minutes.

The myoseki successor being selected by the holder and a group of mainly oyakata doing the check maybe too small a change to convince the Mombusho. Ikazuchi-riji and director Yasuda already have talked to them on the 18th and it looks like they appreciated the new plan.

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The public interest committee met on the 15th. The application to become a new public interest corporation will be made in August or later. The penalties for payments in connection with handing over of myoseki were thoroughly discussed. A member: "I think it will be expulsion or such. Regarding that we're being sensitive."

Exchanging opinions with the Mombusho, the statutes (for the new corporation) will be filled in.

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External kyokai official Terazawa filed his resignation from his post of kanj. Reason is his discontent with the myoseki reform under the present rijicho. He fears the problem of money flowing for a myoseki exchange remains.

Mainichi

Edited by Akinomaki

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Official comment in the other papers is "for personal reasons"

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The public interest committee met on the 15th. The application to become a new public interest corporation will be made in August or later.

The public interest committee met again on the 27th. No agreement on the statutes was reached, the application to become a new public interest corporation is now to be delayed till September or later.

The powers of the board of directors, Rijikai and board of councillors, Hyogiinkai of the new corporation were discussed. Measures for the prevention of and penalties for money exchange in connection with myoseki handover are the central theme and are still left for later conclusion. The reason is that coordination with the Cabinet office as the certifying authority for the change to the new status and with the Mombusho as the supervising authority is not finished.

PR-chief Hakkaku-oyakata: "We want to apply as soon as possible, but it mustn't be in a weird form."

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Another meeting yesterday, nothing new except yet another acknowledged delay; they now plan to have the application in by December. The main sticking point continues to be the issue of how to punish oyakata who circumvent the planned ban on trading myoseki for money. Whatever details the Kyokai have laid out, it appears the Ministry of Etc. is unhappy with it.

Ex-Ikazuchi-oyakata's spot on the reform committee has been taken over by Asakayama-oyakata (ex-Kaio).

(BTW for those scoring at home, the Kyokai has the Ikazuchi kabu officially vacant as of September 20.)

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The Kotooshu threads reminds me that I've seen precious little public commentary on the "only Japanese people can be Kyokai members" rule in the context of the reforms. I can't tell if that's because it's a foregone conclusion that it'll stay this way, or that perhaps it's a foregone conclusion that it's impossible to maintain... Hmm.

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On the 18th another meeting of the public interest co. reform plan committee took place. At last the penalties for money transfer when handing over a myoseki were agreed upon.

Including expulsion (jomei). But they also agreed on a plan to have the new owner pay a consultant fee or similar to the old one for advising in the heya. The kyokai has to be notified of it. The kyokai checks it and if it is found to be inappropriate, it is to be punished, but it's not clear were the border lies. Another loophole.

The old oyakata can recommend his successor and the myoseki requirements examination committee (all oyakata) checks it and the rijikai (new type with probably more externals) approves.

Checking for money transfer is the crisis committee (with externals)

Next meeting is on the 11th of Nov, the new company statute should be fixed then. The kyokai wants to make the application to the authorities this year.

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Allowed money exchange also is for transferring the existing premises to the new owner, but every yen has to be announced to the kyokai, to check if it's reasonable.

Other than expulsion, the penalty for getting caught can also be cancellation of contract, which includes the possibility of returning to the kyokai later, in all 8 levels of punishment.

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The rijikai wasn't the only body to meet today, the reform committee was inaction, err, in action as well. Nothing new except another delay, as the notion of sending in the application before the end of the year seems to have been shelved.

The newest sticking point: Within the new organizational framework, the Kyokai had been planning to send several oyakata into the "council" (whatever its final name will be) which as far as I can tell will hold a supervisory role vis-a-vis the board of directors. That idea has been nixed by the Ministry of Etc., and all oyakata will become mere employees of the new organization. The exact details of their employment status are yet to be hammered out.

And in case anybody feels this isn't complicated enough yet, there's also a "council selection committee" which will feature sufficiently enlightened people (and some Kyokai guys, I guess) who will select the inaugural members of the above-mentioned council. The first (?) two outside people have been confirmed for that role now, those being Seitaro Nakajima, chief priest at the Meiji shrine, and Tetsuya Kobayashi, president of the Metropolitan Imperial Hotel company.

(If any of this is wrong, please direct all inquiries to my lawyer.)

Edit: The board of directors, the shisho group and the oyakata collective will all hold meetings on December 21, although at the rate things are going I'm not sure they'll have anything concrete to debate, reform-wise...

Edited by Asashosakari
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The rijikai and hyogi-inkai discussed the myoseki treatment without result. Next including a discussion in the toshiyori-soukai and the public service system reform measure committee a definite plan should be attained

The application for getting the new status will likely be delayed till after the Hatsu basho.

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The rijikai and hyogi-inkai discussed the myoseki treatment without result. Next including a discussion in the toshiyori-soukai and the public service system reform measure committee a definite plan should be attained

The application for getting the new status will likely be delayed till after the Hatsu basho.

The application for getting the new status will likely be delayed til the doomsayers finally get the end-of-the-world date right :-P

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Rumour is that the Kyokai guys have been waiting to see if the Diet elections are bringing in a less demanding Ministry of Etc. crew again before they're finally going to decide something about the kabu regulations.

Edited by Asashosakari

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Okay, after reading this thread, my google search of myoseki brought me back to this thread, so let me ask here and see if I can get this straight...

Currently, in order to be an oyakata (run a stable, be a member of the JSA), you need to possess one of the 105 myoseki available. That number is entirely finite and so the myoseki has to be purchased from an existing oyakata. The selling oyakata then retires from the JSA and the purchaser assumes the myoseki/mantle of the previous oyakata? Only rikishi have the privilege of purchasing a myoseki, and only if they've met certain specified criteria (reached a certain rank, been in makuuchi/juryo X tournaments, etc.). There is some sort of time limit in which a rikishi can purchase the myoseki after he retires and as it stands, it sounds like the myoseki sells for big bucks, so it's also a sort of retiring allowance for the previous oyakata?

Going forward, the JSA basically wants to nix the sale of the myoseki as part of their move to become a public corporation? The reason for the move is financially motivated, something about maintaining tax status or somesuch?

Or is the reason for the decision politically motivated, and it's the Ministry of Etc. that's pushing for the JSA to reform in the wake of scandals? The myoseki would then be...what, handed out by the new corporation to members? Done away with entirely? I guess that's the part they're dragging their feet on? And now that the old government is back in power, does the Ministry of Etc. still even care? Would a Japanese yokozuna fix all of these problems and more?

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That number is entirely finite and so the myoseki has to be purchased from an existing oyakata. The selling oyakata then retires from the JSA and the purchaser assumes the myoseki/mantle of the previous oyakata?

Pretty much yes, although most of the transfers are necessitated because the incumbent is reaching the mandatory retirement age of 65 and so can't be a Kyokai member any longer anyway. Earlier retirements are relatively rare, and are in many cases an indication that the incumbent wasn't the "real" owner of the share in the first place, and somebody else was calling the shots in the background.

There is some sort of time limit in which a rikishi can purchase the myoseki after he retires

As it stands, the time limit is zero - if you're unable to secure a share upon your retirement (either buying or borrowing), you're out. A limited-membership system was in place for a few years (from memory, 1998 to 2006 or so) that gave retiring rikishi a bit of time to find a share, but this was abolished again.

and as it stands, it sounds like the myoseki sells for big bucks, so it's also a sort of retiring allowance for the previous oyakata?

Retirement allowance, payoff for a shrewd investment, getting back your "entry fee" into the oyakata club...lots of ways to look at it. At the very basis it probably depends on how much a current oyakata paid for his share originally - from what I've read, some shares could be had for just 10 or 20 million yen well into the 1980s, while a decade later prices were up to 20x as much. So the oyakata are a very diverse bunch, financially, and that's part of why they're struggling to find a solution that suits everybody. (Short of keeping the current system.)

In any case, in the good old days (until about the 1970s) there wasn't really a market - oyakata salaries weren't especially high so becoming one wasn't the same "cushy job for life" deal it is now, being chosen as a kabu successor generally implied some sort of personal relationship to the incumbent, and usually the successor would be responsible for caring for the incumbent and his immediate family afterwards (if he wasn't a family member anyway). So there was a financial component to it back then as well, but in a more "traditional" style. At some point demand and supply came into existence - longer life spans meant more oyakata stayed in until age 65, which meant less turnover among their ranks, which meant some rikishi aspiring to become oyakata had to offer sweeteners, especially if they didn't have a personal relationship to any soon-retiring incumbent. They found some incumbents who likewise didn't have a readymade successor and were happy to take a flat payment even from rikishi they had no particular relation with, and things spiralled from there.

Going forward, the JSA basically wants to nix the sale of the myoseki as part of their move to become a public corporation? The reason for the move is financially motivated, something about maintaining tax status or somesuch?

The main reason, as it were, is that they have to: The current type of corporate status that the Kyokai holds was abolished in 2008 (along with several other types) as part of making the system more transparent and more in line with worldwide standards, and the grace period that existing organizations have in order to apply for one of the new types ends next November. IIRC the Kyokai currently pays very low taxes and only on certain business transactions (which e.g. allows heyas to be the recipients of donations both in money and in kind without major tax headaches); the new status would make the Kyokai officially a not-for-profit corporation that enjoys completely tax-free status, but in return they'd be required to prove sufficient engagement for "the public good" (whatever that means for a sports entity) and to follow fairly stringent transparency rules.

The alternative would be to become a for-profit company under the usual corporate rules, which might well be better in the long run under different circumstances, but would most likely wreck the Kyokai in the short run since they're just not set up for the added expenses it would entail (and have seemingly done almost nothing to prepare for the possibility, having put all their planning eggs in the not-for-profit basket). On the upside, they could probably maintain their current membership system with little to no changes, so at least some on the inside appear to believe it would be worth the risk.

Or is the reason for the decision politically motivated, and it's the Ministry of Etc. that's pushing for the JSA to reform in the wake of scandals? The myoseki would then be...what, handed out by the new corporation to members? Done away with entirely? I guess that's the part they're dragging their feet on?

The main idea is that the kabu names would then be associated merely to available employment positions, rather than "shareholder" roles. To the outside things would (probably...) look roughly as they do now, with successful ex-rikishi being in charge of Kyokai management and rikishi coaching under traditional assumed names, but the choice of who gets to become part of the organization would rest with a semi-independent commission that would vet the candidates, instead of leaving the successor choice to the incumbents.

And now that the old government is back in power, does the Ministry of Etc. still even care?

Who knows. The Etc. is a bit of a red-headed stepchild among ministries, and the guy in charge changes regularly, pretty much every autumn plus occasional other changes; even under LDP rule it was occasionally headed by hardliners (or by hands-off ministers who happened to have a hardliner deputy in charge of Kyokai supervision). So only political junkies might be able to predict how the LDP return to power will play out vis-a-vis the Kyokai now. I don't have the first clue.

Would a Japanese yokozuna fix all of these problems and more?

Not by a longshot.

Edited by Asashosakari
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the new status would make the Kyokai officially a not-for-profit corporation that enjoys completely tax-free status, but in return they'd be required to prove sufficient engagement for "the public good" (whatever that means for a sports entity)

Presumably they could set themselves up as a cultural preservation group of some kind? Or would that limit the sort of changes they'd be able to make when needed?

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the new status would make the Kyokai officially a not-for-profit corporation that enjoys completely tax-free status, but in return they'd be required to prove sufficient engagement for "the public good" (whatever that means for a sports entity)

Presumably they could set themselves up as a cultural preservation group of some kind? Or would that limit the sort of changes they'd be able to make when needed?
I don't think there are any specific categories*, they just need to be able to convince the commission that handles the applications that their intended business focus promotes the public good in some way. IIRC they're allowed to engage in other stuff as well (as long as it doesn't go against the overall not-for-profit framework) but the public goodness needs to constitute a minimum percentage of their business dealings, 50% I think. As the standard-bearers of the cultural icon "sumo" they probably won't have any trouble with that hurdle during the application process, but I wonder if the public-good provision could be used to tie their hands later on if the government agency in charge of supervising them decides it would like to meddle.

At any rate, yes, from what I've heard the idea is that they'll be emphasizing the whole "spreading the sumo culture in Japan and abroad" aspect that's already part of their current constitution, but tends to take a backseat to more mundane business issues. Whether that will be in name only or actually result in some changes in approach (e.g. greater cooperation with the amateur side of the game), I have no idea.

* Well, there are categories, but from what I remember reading they're more non-exhaustive classifications of what organizations are typically eligible for each type of corporate status, so it's more general than specific or goal-oriented. "Public good" is left fairly vague in the law.

Edited by Asashosakari

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