POLICE investigating the death of a young Irish student in Tokyo have charged two men in relation to an alleged indecent attack on her friend.
The body of Nicola Furlong, 21, a university student from Curracloe, County Wexford was found at a luxury Tokyo hotel in the early hours of Thursday morning after she attended a concert with another Irish student female friend.
Two Americans James Blackston, 23, a dancer, and a second 19-year-old male, a musician, who has not been formally identified by police due to his age, were arrested at the scene shortly afterwards by investigating officers.
Police are believed to be investigating the possibility that the two men either plied the two women with strong alcohol or spiked their drinks before taking them to the upmarket Keio Plaza Hotel in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo.
Outlining the alleged attack on Miss Furlong’s friend, a spokesperson for Tokyo Metropolitan Police said: “These two men allegedly took advantage of a female unable to resist due to the fact she was in a comatose state from a highly alcoholic beverage.
“On a taxi ride between Shibuya and Shinjuku they took advantage of a woman by touching her body. As that is an indecent act, they have been charged with quasi forcible indecency.”
Miss Furlong was a student at Takasaki City University of Economics in Gunma prefecture, around 60 miles northwest of Tokyo, on a one-year exchange programme from Dublin City University and was due to return home this summer.
Her death occurred only hours after she and a friend attended a concert by the rapper Nicki Minaj in Tokyo, with reports claiming that the pair then missed their last train home.
The students are thought to have had drinks with the two men, before returning to their Shinjuku hotel, where Miss Furlong was found unconscious by hotel staff a few hours later after a fellow guest alerted them to a loud noise.
Miss Furlong was later confirmed dead at a nearby hospital and police are continuing to probe the circumstances surrounding her death, with a number of Japanese media reporting that she was strangled and sexually assaulted.
Her 21-year-old friend, also from Ireland and studying at the same university in Japan, is currently being comforted by her family who have recently arrived in Tokyo and is believed to be assisting police with their investigation.
“She is in Tokyo and she is very shocked but her family have arrived in Japan and her mother is with her now,” one source told the Daily Telegraph. “It’s not yet known if she will stay in Japan to continue her studies or return to Ireland.”
The two men currently in police custody are believed to be involved in the music industry, with a number of on-line reports citing Blackston as a high-profile backing dancer who has appeared on stage with a number of international stars, and the 19-year-old as a musician.
The family of Miss Furlong, a third-year student, who is believed to have been well known in her hometown Curracloe, have requested privacy as they grieve their loss.
In a statement her family said: “We are devastated by the loss of our beautiful daughter / sister Nicola in such tragic circumstances.
“Nicola was a warm, generous, stunning person who always had time for her family and other people. Nicola will always be at the centre of our lives. She stood for everything that is good in life.”