Skip to main content

Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee Holds Press Conference Regarding Olympic Logo Problem

http://www.nhk.or.jp/shutoken-news/20150901/4592851.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games Organizing Committee held a press conference on Sept. 1 to discuss the problems surrounding the Tokyo Olympics logo designed by Kenjiro Sano.  CEO Toshiro Muto told reporters, "We only heard it from Mr. Sano this morning, but the pictures illustrating usage of the logo were created for internal usage by the review committee at the time the design was submitted.  When the design was announced as the official logo it was the rule that permission needed to be obtained from all relevant copyright holders, but this failed to happen.  The explanation given was that this was due to simple carelessness."

Withregard to the strong similarity between Sano's initial draft design for the logo and a poster for an exhibition held in Tokyo several years ago, Muto commented, "Mr. Sano said, 'I make my designs myself, not in imitation of others, and consider them to be original.  As a designer it is not possible to withdraw a design because people say it is an imitation, and for that my family and I have been subjected to constant slander day and night.  It was a dream of mine as a designer to contribute something to the Olympics, but my contribution has now been rejected by the general public.  Given the damage this has done to the image of the Olympics I now feel that I should withdraw my authorship.'"

Muto continued, "This situation has has caused a great deal of worry to all our citizens and in particular to the people of Tokyo, and we apologize sincerely to the government and all other involved parties.  We intend to move forward immediately in the selection of a new logo and to do this in a fundamentally public way.  We will make a decision as soon as possible and hope that the logo is one which is widely supported and loved by the people of Japan as a symbol of the Tokyo Games."

With regard to the reasons for the withdrawal of Sano's logo Muto commented, "We are confident that the claims of similarity to the Belgian logo are incorrect.  New information came to light on Saturday and by Sunday it was evident that the problem could not be ignored, leading to today's decision to withdraw the logo," indicating that the new issues including the unauthorized appropriation of photos used in Sano's Olympic logo usage images were considered the primary grounds for the decision.

Assigning responsibility for the problems equally to the organizing committee, Sano and the review committee, Muto said, "Beyond just assessing the current situation, it is the responsibility of the organizing committee to move forward with creating a new logo.  We understand Mr. Sano's stance that as a designer, 'there has been no plagiarism or imitation.'  We believe that making the decision to withdraw authorship of the logo indicates an acceptance of responsibility.  With regard to the review committee, having recommended Mr. Sano's design as the best among the entries, making the decision that withdrawing the logo was unavoidable is no doubt also a way of taking responsibility."

Regarding the question of whether Japan's international reputation has been damaged, Muto commented, "This logo was intended to be something that would endure, but it has been determined to no longer be suitable.  By creating a new logo we hope to restore that faith."

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kawabata Over Kawauchi at Takashimadaira 20 km

Like a distant echo of the thunder of yesterday's Yosenkai 20 km reverberating across the city, Tokyo's other major 20 km road race took place this morning in the northwestern suburb of Takashimadaira. Narrowly surviving the loss of its main sponsor last year, the Takashimadaira Road Race offers a unique 5 km loop course that delivers fast times. Now in its 42nd year, Takashimadaira is a favorite for upper-tier universities that don't have to run the Yosenkai to requalify for the Hakone Ekiden, for other schools' second-stringers, and for top-level independents and amateurs.

This year's race was fronted by a group of runners from Izumo Ekiden winner Tokai University who didn't make Tokai's final Izumo roster, by London World Championships marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and others from yesterday's Yosenkai winner Teikyo University and the Hakone-qualified Juntendo University and Komazawa University. In the same cool and lightly rainy…

Osaka Marathon Elite Field

One of the world's ten biggest marathons, in its six runnings to date the Osaka Marathon has continued to avoid the addition of a world-class elite field of the same caliber as at equivalently-sized races like Tokyo, Berlin and Boston. In place of doling out cash to pros, Osaka's women's field has developed into a sort of national championship race for amateur women.

In the field this year are six, probably all six, of the amateur Japan women to have broken 2:40 in the last three years. Last year's top three, Yoshiko Sakamoto (F.O.R.), Yumiko Kinoshita (SWAC) and Hisae Yoshimatsu (Shunan City Hall) lead the way at the 2:36 +/- level, with a second trio of Marie Imada (Iwatani Sangyo), Mitsuko Ino (R2 Nishin Nihon) and Chika Tawara (RxL) all around the 2:39 level.

Last year's winner Sakamoto and 3rd placer Yoshimatsu squared off in September at Germany's Volksbank Muenster Marathon, Yoshimatsu tying Sakamoto's Osaka winning time of 2:36:02 to take 3rd over …

Kawauchi and Kanematsu Win Rainy Shimantogawa 100 km

The 23rd edition of the Shimantogawa Ultramarathon took place Oct. 15 in Shimanto, Kochi. 1822 runners started the 100 km division, where Yoshiki Kawauchi (26, Saitama T&F Assoc.) and Aiko Kanematsu (37, Team RxL) took the men's and women's titles for the first time.

The 100 km division started under a heavy downpour at 5:30 a.m. in front of Warabioka J.H.S. The 576 participants in the 60 km division got off 4 1/2 hours later from Koinobori Park, with both races finishing at Nakamura H.S.

Kawauchi, the younger brother of "civil servant runner" Yuki Kawauchi, ran Shimantogawa for the second time, improving dramatically on last year's run to win in 6:42:06. "Last time I was 21st, a total disaster," Kawauchi said afterward. "My brother told me, 'Don't overdo it on the uphills,' and his advie helped me get through it. The scenery around Iwama Chinkabashi was really beautiful."

Kanematsu began running with her husband around age 30…