(Reuters) - The head of Japan’s delegation to the Asian Games is to receive a severe reprimand by the country’s Olympic committee (JOC) in the wake of swimmer Naoya Tomita’s fine and ban for stealing a camera in South Korea.
Tomita was expelled from the Sept. 19 to Oct. 4 Games in Incheon and told he had to pay his own way home after admitting to stealing a camera valued at 8 million won ($7,600) from a journalist working for a South Korean news agency.
Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported that the JOC held a board meeting on Wednesday and decided to censure delegation chief Tsuyoshi Aoki, as well as hand out stern warnings to general director Yuji Takada and official Daichi Suzuki.
A formal decision would be made at an executive meeting on Nov. 21, Kyodo added.
“I feel sorry and feel regret (about what has happened),” said JOC President Tsunekazu Takeda. “I want to apologize to all the people (of Japan).”
Tomita has been suspended for 18 months by the country’s swimming federation and fired from his job after stealing the camera at the Games.
He was initially told he had to stay in South Korea until the case was resolved but was cleared to leave after being issued with a summary indictment and paying a fine of 1 million won.
A former world champion, Tomita won a gold medal in breaststroke at the last Asian Games in 2010 but failed to win any medals this time.
He was caught on closed circuit television stealing the camera after the journalist reported his gear missing.
Kyodo reported Tomita had been suspended by the Japanese Swimming Federation until March 31, 2016.
His employer, sports apparel manufacturer Descente, had fired the 25-year-old swimmer, Kyodo said.
The federation’s executive director Masafumi Izumi and national team manager Norimasa Hirai had been censured over the incident.
Reporting by Peter Rutherford in Seoul; Editing by Ian Ransom/Amlan Chakraborty