Sunday 22 April 2018

Two men quizzed over student's death in Japan

Irish student Nicola Furlong died in Japan this week.
Irish student Nicola Furlong died in Japan this week.
Irish student Nicola Furlong died in Japan this week.

Mark Hilliard and Luke Byrne

POLICE in Japan were last night interviewing two Americans following the death of an Irish student in a hotel.

The Irish Independent has learned that Nicola Furlong (21) and a female friend returned to the hotel with the two men because they missed a train home.

The Americans were staying at the upmarket Keio Plaza Hotel in Tokyo, while the two women were visiting the city for a concert.

Ms Furlong, who was on a student exchange programme from Dublin City University, was rushed to hospital from the hotel in the early hours of Thursday morning, local time. The young woman from Curracloe, Co Wexford, later died.

A family member yesterday said they had been informed the investigation was probing a number of different avenues but the cause of Ms Furlong's death remained unclear.

"There is no confirmation at the moment until a toxicology report comes back," he said.

A post-mortem has been carried out and the results are expected on Monday.

The police police have also spoken with Ms Furlong's female friend.

There has been no official comment from Japanese authorities but events leading up to Ms Furlong's death have begun to emerge.

The two girls travelled to a concert by the American rapper Nicki Minaj on Wednesday night, which finished late, causing them to miss their train.

Ms Furlong, a business and languages student, had been living in the city of Takasaki, in the Gunma prefecture of Japan, around 100km north of Tokyo.

Train

At the train station, the girls met the two American men who said they could return to their hotel rather than wait a number of hours at the station for the next available train.

All four are believed to have returned to the hotel where they had a drink in the bar.

At around 4am, staff were alerted to medical difficulties with Ms Furlong.

Emergency services arrived and while it is believed she was still alive in the ambulance, she later died in hospital.

Ms Furlong's family was informed of the tragedy on Thursday morning.

"It's devastating, absolutely devastating," the family member said yesterday. "Now there is just speculation and trying to pass the time and it's not easy.

"Poor Andrew (Ms Furlong's father), he still doesn't want to believe it; he is in total disbelief."

A spokeswoman at the Metropolitan Police Department in Tokyo said it could not comment.

Friends have been leaving tributes to Nicola on her sister Andrea's Facebook page.

One wrote: "Thoughts are with you & your family, stay strong."

Irish Independent

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