Asian Games 2018: Jakarta & Palembang, Aug 18-Sept 2

Japan send 4 cagers home over sex scandal

From left: Yuya Nagayoshi, Takuya Hashimoto, Takuma Sato and Keita Imamura and head of the Japan Basketball Association Yuko Mitsuya apologised at a press conference yesterday.
From left: Yuya Nagayoshi, Takuya Hashimoto, Takuma Sato and Keita Imamura and head of the Japan Basketball Association Yuko Mitsuya apologised at a press conference yesterday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

JAKARTA (REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE) - Japan have sent home four players from their Asian Games basketball team for allegedly paying prostitutes for sex in a Jakarta hotel, the head of the delegation, Yasuhiro Yamashita, said yesterday.

The players left the athletes' village after their game against Qatar last Thursday to eat at a restaurant where they met a Japanese-speaking local, who told them about a bar where they could meet women, Yamashita told a news conference.

The quartet, who were wearing their team uniforms, spent a couple of hours at the bar in a notorious red-light district of Jakarta before checking into a hotel with four women, staying there until Friday morning, he added.

Officials named the players as Takuya Hashimoto, Keita Imamura, Yuya Nagayoshi and Takuma Sato.

"The Japan National Olympic Committee decided to withdraw their accreditation and send them back to Japan early this morning," Yamashita said.

"We have a specific disciplinary code, it's a clear breach of the code of conduct for the Japanese delegation.

"The athletes should be role models of society, not only in the sporting venues but also on other occasions.

"It's disappointing that this kind of issue happened, I deeply apologise to the Japanese people as the head of the delegation.

"I just feel a sense of shame. We intend to give the athletes thorough guidance from now on. We will decide on the appropriate punishment for the four players once we have heard all the facts."

Japan, who won basketball bronze at the last Asian Games four years ago, beat Qatar 82-71 in their second game in Jakarta and topped qualifying Group C. Their next match is against Hong Kong tomorrow.

The scandal was far from being the first case of sexual misconduct at a major multi-sports event, which typically draws thousands of athletes, officials and fans from around the world.

At the 2014 Asiad, an Iranian official was kicked out for the verbal sexual harassment of a female volunteer, and a Palestinian footballer was accused of groping a female worker at the athletes' village.

In April, at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, a Mauritian official was accused of sexually assaulting a female athlete during a photo shoot.

Japan were also forced to send swimmer Naoya Tomita home from the last Asiad after he was caught on video stealing a journalist's camera.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 21, 2018, with the headline 'Japan send 4 cagers home over sex scandal'. Print Edition | Subscribe