Japanese police believe two American men may have sexually assaulted a young Irish girl – after they murdered her.

Officers in Tokyo investigating the death of 21-year-old Nicola Furlong from County Wexford have arrested two American suspects.

They now fear Nicola was sexually assaulted after she was strangled.

Nicola died after going back to a hotel with the two men and a friend following a concert by the rapper Nicki Minaj in the Japanese capital last Wednesday night.

Reports from Japan say the Dublin University student, in the country on an exchange programme, may have had her drink spiked by the two men.

Her devastated family in Curracloe are struggling to come to terms with her death.

In a statement, they said: “We are devastated by the loss of our beautiful daughter/sister Nicola in such tragic circumstances.

“Nicola was a warm, generous, stunning person who always had time for her family and other people.

“Nicola will always be at the centre of our lives. She stood for everything that is good in life.”

A Tokyo newspaper has reported that two American men -  a 23-year-old dancer and a 19-year-old musician - have been arrested in connection with the death.

The Irish Independent reports that police believe Nicola was sexually assaulted while marks found on her neck indicate she was strangled.

Eye witnesses saw the men getting into a taxi with the women to travel to the hotel.

The two men have denied the allegations but CCTV footage of the group getting into the taxi has been obtained.

The paper reports that Nicola and a friend went to Tokyo’s Koto Ward for the concert on Wednesday night.

They were approached by the two men afterwards, had a meal together and then went to the hotel where the men were staying.

At around 3.20am on Thursday, a guest complained about a loud noise coming from one of the rooms.

The paper states that a hotel employee went to the room and found Nicola lying on the floor near the bed with the 19-year-old American man standing nearby.

Murdered in Tokyo - Wexford native Nicola FurlongGoogle Images