Olympic logo scrapped after plagiarism row

Tokyo Olympic organisers have scrapped the logo for the 2020 Games following another allegation it’s designer might have used copied materials.


Reversing their earlier support for designer Kenjiro Sano against allegations of plagiarising the design, the organisers said the decision came after new accusations over the weekend.

“We have reached a conclusion that it would be only appropriate for us to drop the logo and develop a new emblem,” said Toshio Muto, director general of the Tokyo organising committee. “At this point, we have decided that the logo cannot gain public support.”

The logo has faced scrutiny since a Belgian designer took legal action saying it resembled one of his works that was created for a theatre in Belgium.

Organisers had defended Sano during a news conference last Friday when they released his original design, which had been altered into its final shape, to stress its authenticity. That, instead, triggered fresh allegations over the initial “T” design.

Sano, 43, stood by his design but offered to withdraw the logo during discussion with the organisers.

“I swear my design did not involve copies or plagiarism,” Sano said in a statement on his website.

“Any attempt of suspected copying or plagiarism should never be permitted.”

Muto said the organising committee will have another competition to decide a new logo “as soon as possible,” though he did not give a schedule.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters before the announcement that the organising committee was making “an appropriate decision” and that the Olympic must be an event that is celebrated by everyone.

The logo scandal is another embarrassment for Japan, which scrapped the initial design of the main stadium for the Games following public uproar over its skyrocketing cost estimate.

The delay caused by that revision meant the new stadium won’t be ready for the 2019 Rugby World Cup as had been initially promised, and that organisers and builders will be struggling to meet the revised deadline of January, 2020 set by the International Olympic Committee.

“Discontinuing (the logo) within just over a month of its announcement has shaken the trust” of the people and the global sports community, Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda said in a statement, urging officials to promptly provide an explanation.