Saturday, May 26, 2012

Japan: Two Americans Arrested in Connection with Death of Irish Exchange Student in Tokyo Hotel Room

Tokyo police have arrested two American citizens, 19, and 23, in the suspicious death of Nicola Furlong, 21, an Irish foreign exchange student, who was in Japan studying in Takasaki, located some 95 kilometers (60 miles) northwest of Tokyo.

One of the Americans was with Ms. Furlong when she was found dead early Thursday (May 24) in a Tokyo hotel room. Preliminary investigation revealed that she may have been strangled to death.

COMMENT:  According to available various Japanese new sources, the two American suspects have been detained by police on suspicion of giving Furlong's friend, also a 21-year-old Irish woman, and then molesting her inside of a taxi earlier that evening.

The two women were visiting Tokyo Wednesday night (May 23) to see a concert, and were apparently approached in conversation by the two men. The foursome then went to the hotel the Americans were staying at. Subsequently, Furlong went to the room of the 19-year-old American, while Furlong's friend went to room of the 23-year-old.

During the early morning hours of Thursday, a hotel guest called the reception desk, complaining of a disturbance from one of the Americans' rooms. As a result, a hotel employee went to the room and found Furlong on the floor lying near the bed and the American, 19, standing nearby. At that police, police were summoned.

As most of our readers know from many of my previous postings, travelers need to be prudent and cautious when making the decision to overnight with people they have never met. Apart from the issue of safe-sex, such chance encounters can result in circumstances that are irreversible, as in the case of Ms. Furlong, whose life of promise ended suddenly.

I continue to question the extent, detail and credibility of security awareness training that universities with foreign study programs provide their students. As we can see from a number of recent deaths abroad of such students, many universities are very remiss in fulfilling their responsibilities to the parents of sons and daughters who put their trust in university administrators.