Japan basketballers who paid for sex get 1-year suspensions

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In this Aug. 20, 2018, photo, Yuya Nagayoshi, far left, Takuya Hashimoto, 2nd from left, Takuma Sato, 2nd from right, and Keita Imamura, far right, of Japanese men's basketball team for the Asian Games bow in apology at a press conference in Tokyo, after being stripped of their national team membership and sent back home in Jakarta. The four Japanese basketball players who hired prostitutes during the Asian Games in Indonesia have been suspended from play for one year. The head of the Japan Basketball Association announced the suspensions at a news conference in Tokyo on Wednesday, Aug. 29. (Kyodo News via AP)
In this Aug. 20, 2018, photo, Yuya Nagayoshi, far left, Takuya Hashimoto, 2nd from left, Takuma Sato, 2nd from right, and Keita Imamura, far right, of Japanese men’s basketball team for the Asian Games bow in apology at a press conference in Tokyo, after being stripped of their national team membership and sent back home in Jakarta. The four Japanese basketball players who hired prostitutes during the Asian Games in Indonesia have been suspended from play for one year. The head of the Japan Basketball Association announced the suspensions at a news conference in Tokyo on Wednesday, Aug. 29. (Kyodo News via AP)

Tokyo (AP) — Four Japanese basketballers who were sent home from the Asian Games for hiring prostitutes while on a night out in Jakarta have been suspended from playing for one year.

Yuko Mitsuya, the head of the Japan Basketball Association, bowed in apology before making the announcement at a Wednesday news conference in Tokyo.

“They lacked the sense of pride and responsibility that players in the Japanese delegation should have,” she said.

Mitsuya, an ex-Olympic volleyball player, said her salary would be cut 10 percent for three months, and that the salaries of three other JBA officials would be cut by the same amount for two months.

The four players — Yuya Nagayoshi, Takuya Hashimoto, Takuma Sato, and Keita Imamura — were kicked off Japan’s Asian Games team and sent home from Indonesia on Aug. 20.

They were wearing Japan-emblazoned uniforms when they hooked up with prostitutes after eating and drinking in an entertainment district, Japanese officials said. The incident came to light after a newspaper published photographs of the players out on the town.

“This is a very foolish and disappointing problem, but the truth cannot be changed,” Mitsuya said. “So I think it is our top challenge to learn and grow from this problem.”

The eight remaining players on the Japan squad have continued to compete in the Asian Games.

After missing out on the medal round, Japan lost 113-80 to the Philippines and was relegated to a playoff for seventh place against Indonesia.

Japan coach Herman Mandole said playing with two-thirds of a regular roster had been difficult but the remaining eight players were staying strong.