Four basketball players identified as Takuya Hashimoto, Keita Imamura, Yuya Nagayoshi and Takuma Sato, have been expelled from the basketball ball team representing Japan at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.
The four basketball players were spotted during a night out in a notorious red light area of the city, on Sunday night. A senior official with the JOC went further, revealing that the players had paid for sex during the night out, at a hastily organised media conference on Monday morning.
The players, Yuya Nagayoshi, 27, Takuya Hashimoto and Takuma Sato, both 23, and Keita Imamura, 22, reportedly went to a Japanese restaurant in Jakarta to have dinner following their team’s victory on Aug 16, while wearing their team uniforms.
Japanese delegation chief Yasuhiro Yamashita said the players had been stripped of their team membership and sent home.
“The Japan National Olympic Committee decided to withdraw their accreditation and send them back to Japan early this morning,” Yamashita said.
“A day after our arrival here the Chef de Mission and other top officials told the athletes that they had to be role models in Jakarta,” Yamashita said.
“I deeply apologise to the Japanese people as the head of the delegation,” he added.
Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, president of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), said the OCA was satisfied with the JOC’s handling of the misconduct and called upon all athletes to remember their social responsibilities as they represented the image of their countries.
The rest of the Japanese basketball team will continue with their games through Sept 1, with no substitutes for the four ousted players. Japan has sent a 1,096-member delegation, including some 762 athletes, to the Games co-hosted in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta, and Palembang, the capital of South Sumatra province.
During the 2014 Asian Games held in Incheon, South Korea, a Japanese swimmer was expelled from the national team for stealing a camera from a local reporter.