The 2020 Tokyo Olympics logo was scrapped due to an ongoing plagiarism scandal. Kenjiro Sano, who designed the symbol, is accused of copying the logo from the marquee of a Belgium theater.
As reported by BBC News, Sano’s Tokyo Olympics logo was unveiled in July. Following the debut, Belgian designer Olivier Debie accused Sano of copying the “T” symbol from the Theatre de Liege logo.
— The Guardian (@guardian) September 1, 2015
Kenjiro Sano vehemently denies the accusations, explaining the “T” stands for Tokyo and the attached red circle is meant to represent a “beating heart.”
Sano’s logo was originally criticized because the red circle is similar to the symbol displayed on the Flag of Japan. He was later accused of plagiarism, as the rest of the logo is nearly identical to that of the Theatre de Liege.
As a result, Debie filed a lawsuit to prevent the use of the “T” symbol for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics logo.
Tokyo Olympics organizing committee director Toshio Muto publicly defended Sano’s use of the symbol, stating he is “certain the two logos are different.” However, the committee later determined it was in the best interest of everyone involved to scrap the logo.
“… we became aware of new things this weekend and there was a sense of crisis that we thought could not be ignored. We have reached a conclusion that it would be only appropriate for us to drop the logo and develop a new emblem… we have decided that the logo cannot gain public support.”
As reported by Fox News, the organizing committee will choose a more appropriate logo via a design competition, which will be announced at a later date.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time Kenjiro Sano has been accused of plagiarism.
On Monday, the designer reportedly used copyrighted images during a public presentation. In recent years, he was also accused of using copyrighted images in advertising campaigns for a brewery, a museum, and Japan’s central zoo.
Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe said he was satisfied with the Olympic organization committee’s response to the situation. However, he wants “Mr. Sano to provide an explanation” as to why his 2020 Tokyo Olympics logo was nearly identical to the Theatre de Liege logo.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics logo plagiarism scandal is only one of several issues plaguing the 2020 Olympic organization committee. In July, officials were forced to scrap plans for the Olympic stadium, which would have cost an estimated $2 billion.