• Jiji, Kyodo

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The death of Yuichiro Hata, secretary-general for Upper House members of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, was caused by COVID-19, party Secretary-General Tetsuro Fukuyama said Monday.

Hata, 53, was found to have died of COVID-19 after an autopsy conducted by the Tokyo Medical Examiner’s Office. Hata is the first Japanese lawmaker to be killed by the novel coronavirus.

According to Fukuyama, Hata was resting at home in Tokyo on Friday and Saturday, after running a fever of 38.6 degrees late on Thursday night.

He lost consciousness after telling his secretary, who was taking him by car to a hospital for a polymerase chain reaction test on Sunday afternoon, that he seemed to be suffering pneumonia. Hata was then picked up by an ambulance, but was confirmed dead before arriving at the University of Tokyo Hospital. The autopsy was conducted because he died outside of hospital.

Hata had underlying diseases, including diabetes.

“After losing a close friend, I became painfully aware of the danger of COVID-19,” CDP leader Yukio Edano told a party meeting Monday.

Hata was the son of late Prime Minister Tsutomu Hata. After serving as a secretary for his father, Hata, a native of Nagano Prefecture, became a House of Councilors lawmaker through a by-election in 1999.

The five-term Upper House lawmaker joined the Cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in 2012 as the minister of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism.

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