Photo/Illutration Yuichiro Hata, center, shakes hands with a lawmaker from his party after a news report said that he would win his race in the Upper House election. The photo was taken in Nagano in July 2019. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Former transport minister Yuichiro Hata who died on Dec. 27 was confirmed infected with the novel coronavirus, becoming the first Japanese lawmaker to die from the disease, the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP) said Dec. 28.

Hata died on Dec. 27 right before he underwent a test for COVID-19 after falling ill. He was 53. His infection was confirmed on Dec. 28.

Hata was secretary-general of the Upper House caucus of the CDP. He represented a district in Nagano Prefecture and was elected five times to the Upper House.

According to sources associated with the CDP, Hata had shown flu-like symptoms from a few days ago. He was scheduled to undergo a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test for the novel coronavirus on Dec. 27.

But he fell into a critical condition before he arrived at a hospital, sources said.

Tetsuro Fukuyama, secretary-general of the CDP, posted a message of condolence on his Twitter account on Dec. 27.

“I have heard that Yuichiro Hata passed away, and I would like to extend my deepest condolences,” he said. “I have heard that he passed away due to an illness. He died suddenly, and I am too sad to express my feeling with words.”

Hata was a transport minister under the government led by the Democratic Party of Japan. He was the son of the late Prime Minister Tsutomu Hata.