Four Japanese basketball players have been sent home from the Asian Games in Jakarta after allegedly paying prostitutes for sex, the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) announced on Monday.
Last week, the players - Yuya Nagayoshi, Takuya Hashimoto, Keita Imamura and Takuma Sato – were spotted in a notorious red-light district of Jakarta wearing their national jerseys and leaving a bar accompanied by four women.
#BREAKING Four Japanese basketball players booted from Asian Games in prostitute scandal— AFP Sport (@AFP_Sport) 20 August 2018
According to Yasuhiro Yamashita, the head of the Japanese delegation at the Asian Games, after their 82-71 victory over Qatar on Thursday, the four players met a Japanese-speaking local who told them about a bar where they could meet women.
The basketballers spent a couple of hours at the bar before checking into a hotel with four women. They stayed there until Friday morning.
According to Yamashita, the players were disqualified for breaching the code of conduct for athletes who represent Japan, which states that competitors should set a good example at all times.
They "paid for the services of prostitutes", Yamashita said. "I feel a sense of shame. We deeply apologise and intend to give the athletes thorough guidance from now on.
"Athletes should be role models of society, not only in the sporting venues but also on other occasions," Japan’s chef de mission added.
Yuko Mitsuya, Japan Basketball Association chairperson, said an independent committee will be established to discuss the potential punishment for the four players.
Asian Games Japanese Athletes delegation holds a press conference to announce 4 Men basketball players - pic.twitter.com/l46tz03HVv— 上田 一郎 (@IwandioJ) 20 August 2018
Japan to continue with eight players
Although the number of players on the Japanese male basketball squad has dropped from 12 to eight, the team will continue its participation in the Asian Games.
According to Yamashita, the delegation concluded that "there was not enough reasonable grounds for prohibiting the team from entering the game to shoulder collective responsibility" for the misconduct of the four players.
The team is scheduled to face off against Hong Kong on 22 August, their last game in the preliminary round.
During the 2014 Asian Games in the South Korean city of Incheon, the Japanese delegation were forced to send home swimmer Naoya Tomita, who was spotted stealing a journalist's camera from the pool deck.