National

Suntory pulls promotional bags bearing designs by embattled Tokyo Olympics logo designer

Kyodo, Staff Report

Allegations of plagiarism surrounding Tokyo 2020 Olympics logo designer Kenjiro Sano took a new twist on Thursday as Suntory Beer Ltd. announced it will retract a range of products bearing his designs.

Suntory said it would pull eight of a total 30 types of tote bags that are given to customers of the beer-maker’s nonalcoholic products.

Suntory launched the sales promotion last month. It said it will continue shipping the remaining 22 types of tote bags, which are given out to customers who buy a certain number of the company’s nonalcoholic beer-flavored beverages.

According to Suntory, Sano asked the company to pull the tote bags bearing the designs in question, including those of French bread and a direction arrow with the word “beach,” as suspicions were raised via the Internet that they “closely resemble” pre-existing designs.

The design office headed by Sano said the images in question were inspired by ideas and items from everyday life. It added, it has started studying the matter with experts.

A spokesman for the design company said that once the office had received the design order, Sano had overseen it.

Belgian designer Olivier Debie has said he will file a lawsuit against the International Olympic Committee over the official 2020 Olympics emblem, alleging Sano plagiarized his work.

The lawsuit threat came after a chorus of Internet users pointed out striking similarities between Debie’s work and the Olympic emblem.

The Tokyo Games organizing committee has stood by the logo. It has said it will persevere with plans to use it for the event in 2020.