Asian Games: Japanese basketball players expelled for buying sex

The Japanese Olympic Committee has penalized four players on the men's Asian Games basketball team for buying sex in Jakarta and sent them home, a senior official said Monday, in the latest in a spate of scandals as the country gears up for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. Japanese delegation chief Yasuhiro Yamashita, speaking at a press conference in the Indonesian capital, said the players were stripped Sunday of their membership of the national team as their conduct violated the committee's rules. (Japanese delegation chief Yasuhiro Yamashita) The B-League players -- Yuya Nagayoshi, 27, Takuya Hashimoto, 23, Takuma Sato, 23, and Keita Imamura, 22, who were clad in black suits later attended a press conference in Tokyo and admitted their wrongdoing. "Because of our thoughtless behavior, we have caused tremendous trouble. We are taking a hard look at what we have done," Nagayoshi said. The four players left the athletes' village after 10 p.m. on Thursday to have dinner, and later that night they "paid for the services of prostitutes," Yamashita said. Following the team's 82-71 preliminary round win over Qatar, the players first went to a Japanese restaurant in a major entertainment district, called Block M in the city, wearing their team uniforms. (Clockwise from top left: Yuya Nagayoshi, Takuya Hashimoto, Keita Imamura, Takuma Sato) After dinner and drinking, they left and were approached by a Japanese-speaking tout on the street who introduced them to women from a nightclub. They took the women to a nearby hotel and did not return to the village until early Friday morning. "There were actions that violated the national team's code of conduct...and it betrayed the expectations of Japanese citizens," Yamashita said. "As the chief of the delegation, it is very regrettable and I deeply apologize from the bottom my heart," he said. In the wake of the scandal, the Japanese Olympic Committee convened an emergency meeting early Tuesday to bring together national team coaches. They were ordered to ensure that this kind of misconduct never happens again. Yamashita quoted one of the players, who all flew back to Japan at their own expense, as saying the group wore their uniforms as required when they left the village as they initially intended to just have dinner. The remaining eight players on the Japanese basketball team will continue to participate in the tournament running through Sept. 1. There will be no replacements for the four departed players. Yuko Mitsuya, head of the Japan Basketball Association, released a statement calling the players' behavior "unspeakable as athletes representing Japan," and "there is no room to make excuses for their inconsiderate acts." The JOC's rules stipulate that athletes must follow the national team's code of conduct when competing in multi-sport events. The code says athletes should keep in mind that they have to act as "society's role models" even when they are not competing since they are financed by taxpayers. (Four men believed to be the Japanese players seen arriving at Jakarta airport on Aug. 20) Japan sport has been rocked by a number of scandals in recent months, ranging from a university American football player's intentional dangerous tackle to revelations about the former head of the amateur boxing body's connections with an organized crime syndicate. Earlier this month, Japan Amateur Boxing Federation President Akira Yamane stepped down amid allegations of wrongdoing, including pressuring referees to fix matches and the misuse of grant money. "I did not think at the Asian Games I would have to comment again about this kind of thing," Japan Sports Agency chief Daichi Suzuki told reporters at a Jakarta hotel. "Their tournament is still going on and I can't help but question why they were wandering around at night like that." Suzuki said he is "disappointed" over the seemingly never-ending scandals ahead of the Tokyo Olympics and he has instructed officials at the agency to consider ways to improve governance of various sports organizations in Japan, although he admitted it is always difficult to determine to what extent the government should "interfere." During the 2014 Asian Games in the South Korean city of Incheon, a Japanese swimmer was expelled from the national team for stealing a camera belonging to a South Korean media outlet. More on the Asian Games: Asian Games: Asia's biggest multisport event opens in IndonesiaAsian Games: Swimmers lead the way for Japan in Indonesia Asian Games: Joint Korea rowers all smiles despite difficult start Ex-captain recounts Asian Games as big moment before Tokyo Olympics  

5 hours ago | KYODO NEWS

Olympics: Tokyo tests water sprinklers to keep streets cool at 2020 Games

The Tokyo government tested sprinklers on the capital's street on Monday to see how effective spraying water is in countering scorching heat expected during the 2020 summer Olympics it will host. The experiment, conducted on a pedestrian walkway along a road where competitive walking will be held during the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, showed sprinkling water would keep temperatures on the street surface up to around 5 C cooler than the surrounding air temperature. Heat has been a major concern for the games in Japan, where the temperature soared to a record high 41.1 C in July near Tokyo. The nation has already seen over 130 people die and 71,000 others taken to hospitals due to heatstroke or heat exhaustion between April 30 and Aug. 5. The Tokyo metropolitan government tested hoses with holes used for farming in three different settings -- using sprinklers from 4 a.m., 7 a.m. and not using them at all. Starting at 4 a.m. created some areas where the surface temperature was about 5 C lower than the air temperature, while other wetted locations also recorded temperatures between 27 C and 29 C even when the air temperature went over 30 C. In areas where no water was sprinkled, the surface temperature eclipsed 30 C. As it was cloudy when the experiment was conducted, a Tokyo official in charge of the experiment said, the results could be different if the weather is sunny. Tokyo already plans to introduce mist showers and special pavements to reduce the road surface temperatures.  

Aug 13, 2018 | KYODO NEWS

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