Nagoya – Japan’s medal-munching mayor may soon see a bite taken out of his paycheck.
Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura said Monday that he’s ready to forfeit three months’ pay totaling ¥1.5 million ($13,000) after drawing flak for biting an Olympic softball player’s gold medal earlier this month during a ceremony.
Kawamura again apologized for the medal-biting incident, which occurred when Nagoya native Miu Goto, a 20-year-old member of the women’s Olympic softball team, visited the mayor on Aug. 4.
“I feel morally responsible,” Kawamura said at a news conference. He is expected to present an ordinance to cut his pay at an assembly session starting next month.
When the pair posed for photos during Goto’s visit to City Hall to celebrate her part in the team’s victory, Kawamura gestured for her to place the medal around his neck and, taking off his mask, bit it — copying a gesture often made by medal-winning Olympians.
The mayor has also been accused of sexual harassment after asking if softball players on the team are “prohibited from having romantic relationships.”
“I disgraced the occasion and offended Goto and the Japanese people,” he said, bowing in apology at the news conference. The mayor also said he had received training on harassment following the incident.
Kawamura, however, ruled out stepping down from his post, saying that he “wants to continue serving the citizens of Nagoya.”
Goto’s gold medal will be exchanged for a new one, with costs to be shouldered by the International Olympic Committee, according to the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee.
The city has received more than 7,000 complaints over Kawamura’s behavior toward Goto.
The incident went viral on social media, with auto giant Toyota Motor Corp., which owns the softball team Goto plays for, also labeling his acts “inappropriate” and “extremely regrettable.”
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