Even with only eight players left in their line-up, the Japanese National Men’s Basketball team secured a ticket in the quarterfinals of their event at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.
34-year old Atsuya Ota scored 19 points to lead the Japanese team in defeating Hong-Kong with a score of 88-82.
The Japanese team, who placed third during the previous Asian Games, was left with only two-thirds of their basketball players after sending Takuya Hashimoto, Keita Imamura, Yuya Nagayoshi and Takuma Sato back to their country
The Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) withdrew the accreditation of the above mentioned players after they allegedly paid the services of prostitutes during a night out in town.
Based on reports, delegation chief Yasushiro Yamashita said that the actions of the four athletes breached the code of conduct for the Japanese delegation, who should serve as role models.
“It’s disappointing that after that instruction and encouragement, this kind of issue happened, I deeply apologise to the Japanese people as the head of the delegation,” Yamashita was quoted as saying during a press conference.
All four Japanese players, who were wearing their national uniform during the incident, flew back to their home-country using their own money.
According to Japan-based news agency Kyodo News, Nagayoshi, Hashimoto, Sato, and Inamura admitted to getting the services of prostitutes during a press conference after their return to Japan.
“Because of our thoughtless behavior, we have caused tremendous trouble. We are taking a hard look at what we have done,” Nagayoshi was reported saying.
In a statement, Japanese Basketball Association Chief Yuko Mitsuya apologized for the incident and promised ‘to 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,” Mitsuya said.