Nagoya politician also attends harassment awareness workshop, says comments he made about dating and marriage to medalist were inappropriate.

Following the Japanese women’s softball team’s gold medal victory over the U.S.A. at the end of July, left-handed pitcher Miu Goto returned to a hero’s welcome in her hometown of Nagoya. The celebration included meeting Nagoya mayor Takashi Kawamura, who wanted to convey his congratulations in person, but picked a very poor way to do so.

During their meeting Goto naturally showed Kawamura her gold medal, and the 72-year-old politician promptly stuck it in his mouth and bit it, imitating the common photo-op pose struck with the Olympic hardware. What Kawamura apparently failed to properly understand, though, was that it’s supposed to be the athletes themselves biting their medals, and that not only is slobbering all over someone else’s belongings gross, doing so in the middle of a pandemic is dangerous too.

▼ Miu Goto

With the bite caught on camera, the mayor has been facing a wave of criticism not just for his oral infraction but also for asking Goto if members of the softball team are allowed to date and encouraging her to “Find yourself a good husband.” During his regularly scheduled press conference on Monday he spoke of how he’s trying to make amends, saying that on August 13th he attended a course on harassment awareness and that he’s come to understand that his remarks to Goto were inappropriate. Kawamura will also be forfeiting three months of his salary, which works out to 1.5 million yen (US$13,640).

While voluntary resignations often follow political scandals in Japan, Kawamura stated that he wishes to continue serving as mayor of Nagoya, while reiterating his previously made apology, saying “I have caused discomfort to Goto and the people of the country, and will practice greater self-discipline.”

It’s unclear whether Kawamura’s forfeited salary will be donated to a charitable cause or simply remain in the city’s coffers. Using it to pay for a replacement medal for Goto would seem like the most natural application, but the athlete herself seems to be attached to the one that was presented to her as she stood with her teammates at the Olympics, even if it’s spent some time in Kawamura’s mouth since then.

Source: Jjii
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