NAGOYA – Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura, who has faced a barrage of criticism for suddenly biting an Olympic softball player’s gold medal last month, on Wednesday tested positive for the coronavirus, the local government said.
Kawamura, who had apologized for the medal-biting incident that went viral on social media, took a PCR test after his secretary was found to have been infected with the virus on Sunday, according to Nagoya city officials.
The 72-year-old mayor has not developed any symptoms and is resting at home, with his official duties delegated to other officials. He received his second shot of a COVID-19 vaccine in early July.
“Coronavirus is striking fury in a way never before seen, but we will all work together to ensure there is no interruption in running the city,” Kawamura said in a statement.
Kawamura recently made headlines over the medal-biting stunt, which occurred when he was visited by Miu Goto, a member of the Japanese women’s softball team at the Tokyo Olympics who hails from Nagoya, on Aug. 4.
When the pair posed for photos during Goto’s visit to city hall, 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.
His action has drawn flak for “lacking respect” for the athlete and being “insensitive” amid the coronavirus pandemic. Following the incident, he offered to forfeit three months’ pay totaling ¥1.5 million ($13,500).
The announcement of Kawamura’s infection came as Aichi reported 1,876 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, with its cumulative tally reaching 85,585, according to the prefectural and city governments.
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