Basketball

Basketball players handed one-year bans

by Hiroshi Ikezawa

Staff Writer

The four men’s national basketball team players who allegedly paid women for sex in Jakarta during the ongoing Asian Games have been handed a one-year ban by the Japan Basketball Association, the organization announced on Wednesday.

The ban, effective from the announcement, includes B. League games and the Emperor’s Cup as well as the B. League Early Cup, which, while not officially sanctioned by the JBA, is regarded as having a similar status to other official competitions.

The banned players are Takuya Hashimoto of Osaka Evessa, Takuma Sato of Shiga Lakestars, Keita Imamura of Niigata Albirex BB and Yuya Nagayoshi of Kyoto Hannaryz.

“We received the report from our arbitration committee on their penalties and approved it in today’s meeting of the board of directors,” said Yuko Mitsuya, head of the JBA. “A yearlong ban is significant for the athletes, but I still want to give them a second chance (after the ban). I will communicate with their clubs and discuss how we should guide them.”

According to Mitsuya, world basketball governing body FIBA has informed the JBA that the scandal will not affect any decision on whether to give Japan a host-nation berth at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. If Japan is not given the host slot, it will need to qualify by achieving a top-16 finish at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.