• Kyodo

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Details of the public design competition for the official mascot of the 2020 Olympics will be released in mid-May, the Tokyo Games organizing committee said Monday.

The 15-member panel deciding the selection process has met for the eighth and last time, and has held 17 total hours of deliberation, officials said.

The Olympic mascot is scheduled to be unveiled in summer 2018.

“We went over the criteria for the competition and the selection process for the last time,” Yoshiko Ikoma, vice chairwoman of the panel, said after Monday’s meeting. “We are waiting for final word (from the International Olympic Committee), but the feedback so far has been generally positive.

“We want a wide range of people to take part in the competition, from experienced professionals to those among the general public with future potential.”

After the competition ends — the deadline has yet to be announced — the panel will whittle the list down to three or four finalists.

The competition will welcome all comers, including children, who can apply with a guardian. Each design must be drafted from six different angles with various expressions and poses. A narrative for the mascot must also be included.

Feedback from children will be taken into account once the finalists are determined, although how and when were not announced Monday.

Ikoma said she expects the 2020 mascot to be ground-breaking.

“Japan is a massive nation of mascots and characters,” she said. “I like to think this will be the start of something entirely new for mascots.”