Two held over Irish student's death in Tokyo

 

TOKYO POLICE have charged two US men in connection with the death of an Irish student, Nicola Furlong (21), and the assault of an Irish woman friend.

Japanese police often hold suspects on secondary charges while gathering information, and the charges against the men only allege assault.

Ms Furlong, from Curracloe, Co Wexford, reportedly arrived in Tokyo with her friend to attend a concert on Wednesday. She had travelled the one-hour journey from Takasaki City University of Economics, where she was studying on a one-year exchange course from DCU.

Police believe the men approached the women after the concert and invited them to dinner. Japanese newspapers have reported witnesses seeing the women being pushed into a taxi in central Tokyo on Wednesday night. Police are investigating the possibility the women were drugged before the assault.

The case has attracted considerable interest because it resembles previous high-profile killings of foreign women in Tokyo.

Ms Furlong’s remains are due to return to Ireland this week.

A spokesman for her family said they were devastated by the loss.

“Nicola was a warm, generous, stunning person who always had time for her family and other people. Nicola will always be the centre of our lives. She stood for everything that is good in life.”

Yesterday the family issued a statement which said in part: “The Japanese police are continuing their investigations into the circumstances surrounding Nicola’s death. As these circumstances are unclear at this time we respectfully request time and space to mourn Nicola with dignity.

“Rumours and innuendo circulating in the press are speculation and are without foundation.

“The family will make no further comment.”