Japanese athletes march during the opening ceremony for the 18th Asian Games in the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, Jakarta, Indonesia. On Monday, it was reported that four athletes were sent home in the morning after the JOC learned that the four "paid for the services of prostitutes". File picture: Dita Alangakara/AP Photo.

Tokyo - Four players on Japan's men's Asian Games basketball team were stripped of their membership for buying sex in Jakarta, the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) said Monday.

The four athletes were sent home in the morning after the JOC learned that the four "paid for the services of prostitutes," Yasuhiro Yamashita, who leads the Japanese delegation in the Asian Games, was quoted by the Kyodo news agency as telling a news conference in the Indonesian host city.

"I deeply apologize from the bottom of my heart. Their action violated the code of conduct of the national team and betrayed the expectations of the public," Yamashita said.

Yamashita identified the four as Yuya Nagayoshi, Takuya Hashimoto, Keita Imamura and Takuma Sato.

The four players wearing their team uniforms went out for dinner on Thursday following a 82-71 victory over Qatar. Afterwards, they took women to a hotel and conducted "inappropriate acts" with them, Kyodo said.

The eight remaining players will continue at the Asian Games, with Hong Kong the next opponents on Wednesday, the JOC said.