Every athlete’s goal in the ongoing Asian Games in Indonesia is to win games and bring home medals to their home countries. Four male Japanese basketball players, however, are going home early, bringing with them not victory and glory, but shame and disgrace after they allegedly spent the night in their hotel room with women who are sex workers.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">4 Japanese basketball players sent home from Asian Games after spending night with prostitutes in hotel <a href="https://t.co/kHSnLCpPUH">https://t.co/kHSnLCpPUH</a> <a href="https://t.co/kvADgl3zRd">pic.twitter.com/kvADgl3zRd</a></p>— Japan Today News (@JapanToday) <a href="https://twitter.com/JapanToday/status/1031436951218319360?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 20, 2018</a></blockquote>
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The Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) confirmed on Monday their decision to send the four erring players home and cut short their Asian games stint even if it will mean their basketball team will have a depleted line-up.
The players were seen spending time in a notorious red light district of Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital last week, in their national jerseys at that. The players have been identified as Yuya Nagayoshi,27, Takuya Hashimoto,23, Takuma Sato, 23, Keita Imamura,22.
The basketball players left the athletes’ village after their game against Qatar and had dinner after at the said notorious area, where they are believed to have been solicited on the street to go to a hotel with the sex workers.
Japan’s basketball team won bronze at the last Asian Games four years ago. They also defeated Qatar 82-71 in their second game in Jakarta before the scandal and top the qualifying Group C. Their next match is against Hong Kong on Wednesday.
JOC said the quartet had been ordered to leave Indonesia immediately, along with the admission that what the basketball players did is a major embarrassment for Japan.
The players were also asked to fly back home at their own expense.
Japan’s chef de mission Yasuhiro Yamashita said: “I just feel a sense of shame. We deeply apologize and intend to give the athletes thorough guidance from now on.”
Yamashita added: "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."
Japan basketball chief Yuko Mitsuya also apologized in a released statement. He said: “I would like to humbly apologize to the Japanese public, the JOC and everyone who supports basketball for this deplorable incident. We will decide on the appropriate punishment for the four players once we have heard all the facts. We need to work harder to make sure this kind of scandal does not happen again.”
The remaining eight players of the men’s basketball team, along with their coaches, will remain in Indonesia for the rest of the competition.
It is still fresh in the memory of the sporting world that Japan also sent home a swimmer from the last Asian Games in 2014 for stealing a journalist’s camera. Japan is set to host the next Olympics in 2020.