Tokyo Olympic committee backs logo designer Sano, says design not plagiarized


The organizing committee of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Friday showed the original design of Kenjiro Sano’s Olympic and Paralympic Games logo, currently the subject of a plagiarism dispute, backing the Japanese designer’s claim that he did not copy a Belgian theater’s logo.

At a news conference showing Sano’s logo which was originally submitted to the design competition, Toshiro Muto, director-general of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, said its design is “totally different from the Belgian theater logo.”

The Tokyo Olympic logo was touched up several times by Sano after it was picked in the competition to avoid any similarity to other registered trademarks and reflects the committee’s request for a design depicting lively movement, according to the committee.

Olivier Debie, who designed the logo of Theatre de Liege, filed a suit in Belgium on Aug. 13 seeking to get the International Olympic Committee to halt the use of Sano’s logo, saying his creation was plagiarized by Sano.

Sano’s original version does not have part which looks like an “L,” a shape claimed to be very similar to the Belgian theater’s logo.

“I’m convinced the (Olympic) emblem is original,” Muto said.

Sano held a press conference on Aug. 5 after doubts about the originality of the design emerged and said that he had never seen the theater logo.

Kazumasa Nagai, a graphic designer who headed the eight-member committee that selected the logo for the games, said Wednesday that Sano’s original work did not resemble the Belgian designer’s and also that he had not seen the initial design.