Four Japanese basketballers have been kicked out of the Asian Games in Indonesia for paying prostitutes for sex. The incident is embarrassing to Japan, which is to host the Olympics in two years' time.
Four players from Japan's men's basketball team have been sent home in disgrace from the Asian Games after they paid prostitutes to spend the night with them in a Jakarta hotel, Japan's delegation head Yasuhiro Yamashita said on Monday.
"The Japan Olympic Committee decided to withdraw their accreditation and send them back to Japan early this morning," Yamashita told a news conference.
"The athletes should be role models of society, not only in the sporting venues but also on other occasions," he said, adding that he felt "a sense of shame."
Spotted in national jerseys
The four basketballers had been spotted by a Japanese reporter in a notorious red-light district of the Indonesian capital in their team uniforms after their game against Qatar on Thursday, Yamashita said. The men then took the women to a hotel, staying there with them until Friday morning, he added.
They "paid for the services of prostitutes," Yamashita said, according to Japan's Kyodo news agency.
It is not the first time Japan has taken such disciplinary action at the Asian Games. In 2014, swimmer Naoya Tomita was ordered home after a surveillance camera captured him stealing a journalist's camera.
Major sporting events around the world are known to bring increased business to prostitutes in the locations where they are held. Athletes' villages are often provided with thousands of free condoms partly in recognition of the fact.
Some 18,000 athletes are currently in Jakarta and co-host city Palembang for the Asian Games, which are comparable to a regional Olympics. Forty sports are represented at the games, which opened on August 18 and end on September 2.
The Japanese capital, Tokyo, is to host the next world Olympic Games in 2020.
tj/rc (Reuters, AFP)