Cathy Hayes, Irish Central, May 31, 2012
The investigation into the murder of Nicola Furlong, a 21-year-old Wexford student, and the sexual abuse of her friend, is continuing in Tokyo.
The Japanese police are holding two American men on suspicion of quasi-forceable indecency.
Local reports from Japan claim that Furlong and her friend were approached by the two men after a Nicki Minaj concert. Witnesses report that the two women were pushed into a taxi. Police are also investigating whether they were drugged before they were assaulted.
The American suspects are James Blackston (23) and an unnamed 19-year-old backing musician.
Blackston, from south central Los Angeles, had a high profile as a dancer who has worked with Nicki Minaj and the Black Eyed Peas among others. Both men are in Japan working for Japanese singer Ai Carina Uemura.
The Irish Independent reports that Furlong was found unconscious on the floor of Blackston’s up-market hotel and later died.
Furlong’s body will be repatriated later this week and will be buried this weekend in her hometown of Curracloe, in County Wexford.
The Tanaiste (Deputy Prime Minster) of Ireland and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamon Gilmore released a statement asking the media to respect the privacy of the two Irish families involved.
He said, “I want to offer my deepest condolences to the Furlong family who have lost Nicola in such awful circumstances.
“There is a police investigation under way and my department and the Irish embassy in Tokyo are continuing to provide consular assistance to Nicola’s family and to Nicola’s friend who was also a victim in this case.”
“The parents of both women have appealed to the media to respect their families’ privacy,” he said.
“I would respectfully ask the media to bear that in mind in their reporting of the case and to allow the families and friends of both women privacy at this very difficult time.”
Ireland’s diplomatic staff are liaising with the families of the two women since the incident.
Gilmore added, “My department continues to provide consular assistance to the two families and our embassy in Tokyo will remain in close contact with the relevant Japanese authorities as the investigation proceeds.”