Four Japanese basketball players embroiled in a prostitution scandal while participating in the Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia have been booted after violating the national team’s code.
Yuya Nagayoshi, 27, Takuya Hashimoto, 23, Takuma Sato, 23, and Keita Imamura, 22, were sent home on Sunday after it was discovered that they paid for prostitutes in Jakarta’s red light district while wearing Japan’s national basketball uniform, according to Kyodo News.
After the team’s preliminary victory against Qatar with a score of 82-71, the group left and had dinner around 10 p.m. on Thursday at a Japanese restaurant in the city’s major entertainment district “Block M.”
Members of Japan’s national basketball team left after eating and drinking and were approached by women on the street.
With the help of some Japanese men they met who could speak Indonesian, the four basketball players negotiated and paid the women 1.2 million Indonesian rupiah ($82) each.
Japanese Olympic officials learned of the scandal after a journalist spotted the players and published photographs of them out in public, the Daily Mail reported.
They then took the women to a nearby hotel and did not return to the athlete’s village until around 2:30 a.m. on Friday.
“There were actions that violated the national team’s code of conduct…and it betrayed the expectations of Japanese citizens,” Yasuhiro Yamashita, head of Japanese delegation to the Asian Games, said. “As the chief of the delegation, it is very regrettable and I deeply apologize from the bottom my heart.”
“Because of our thoughtless behavior, we have caused tremendous trouble. We are taking a hard look at what we have done,” Nagayoshi said at a press conference held in Tokyo on Monday.
The four athletes, who went home at their own expense, explained that they wore the uniforms as per the requirement of the village, claiming that they left the area with the intention of only having dinner.
“Athletes should be the good symbol of their society,” Olympic Council of Asia president Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah, who commended Japan Olympic Committee for its swift action, said. “To represent the country is not only to stand with the medal. It’s how you behave with the other athletes, the officials, volunteers … (and) give a good example.”
Only eight players remain in Japan’s national basketball team at the Asian Games in Jakarta. They are set to go up against Hong Kong on Wednesday.
Featured Image via YouTube / Kyodo News