Medal Chomp disgusts Japan, annoys Toyota


Nagoya City Mayor Takashi Kawamura bites the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games gold medal for softball athlete Miu Goto at a ceremony in Nagoya, central Japan on August 4, 2021, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Photo taken on August 4, 2021. Mandatory Credit Kyodo / via REUTERS

TOKYO, Aug.5 (Reuters) – The mayor of the Japanese city of Nagoya on Thursday earned infamy on the internet and a rare reprimand from Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) for winning an Olympic gold medal at the an event to celebrate its winner, softball pitcher Miu Goto.

In the incident Takashi Kawamura lowered his mask on Wednesday and put Goto’s gold medal between his teeth as he stood in front of a backdrop used for a press briefing urging people to wash their hands and socially distance to prevent COVID-19 infections.

Trending posts on Twitter said Kawamura turned Goto’s gold medal into a germ medal, which in Japanese is pronounced the same. Some have asked Goto to replace the medal she won at the Tokyo 2020 Games while playing for Japan.

Biting on medals, which only contain a small amount of gold even though gold, is common among athletes and even prompted a humorous tweet from the official Tokyo2020 account to confirm that “medals are not edible. “

“It is unfortunate that he has not been able to feel admiration and respect for the athlete,” Toyota said in a statement on Kawamura on Thursday. “And it is extremely unfortunate that it has not been able to take infection prevention into account,” said the world’s largest automaker.

Toyota, owner of the Red Terriers softball team Goto plays for, dominates the economy of the city’s central region of Japan.

“I forgot my post as mayor of Nagoya and acted in an extremely inappropriate manner. I am fully aware that I should think about it,” Kawamura said in a televised apology after Toyota released its statement.

His apparent contempt for the coronavirus label in a country where mask-wearing is common, even in sweltering summer heat, comes as COVID-19 cases rise in Japan as the more infectious Delta variant spreads . Read more

Kawamura, who previously sparked controversy for trying to shut down an exhibition about women forced to work in Japanese army brothels during World War II, was re-elected in April for a fourth term.

Reporting by Tim Kelly; additional reporting by Kevin Krolicki and Takashi Umekawa; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa and Michael Perry

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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