Two women who rushed to perform first aid on a man who collapsed in a sumo ring in Japan were ordered to leave by a referee—because women aren’t allowed in what is regarded as a sacred space. The first aiders rushed to help Maizuru city Mayor Ryozo Tatami after he collapsed while giving a speech, but the referee demanded that they leave the sumo ring as women are traditionally seen as too “impure” to enter. Salt was later thrown into the ring in an attempt to purify it after the women stepped inside to help. The head of Japan’s sumo association later apologized to the women, saying: “The announcement [to get off the stage] was made by a referee who was upset, but it was an inappropriate act in a situation that involves one’s life. We deeply apologize.” Tatami was taken to hospital and is reported to be in a stable condition.