Tokyo sticks to 2020 logo despite copycat claims

AFP| Last Updated: Aug 28, 2015, 16:47 PM IST
Tokyo sticks to 2020 logo despite copycat claims

Organisers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics said Friday they would stick with a logo hit by plagiarism claims and had no plans to change what they described as an original work.

The logo has been swept up in controversy since its unveiling in July after Belgian designer Olivier Debie claimed it copied work he had done for a theatre company.

Earlier this month, Debie took the International Olympic Committee to court to block it from using the logo.

The IOC has rejected the claims and Japanese officials again on Friday said local artist Kenjiro Sano`s work was an original and they had no plans to change it.

"We are confident that the Games` logo design is original," Toshiro Muto, director general of the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, told a press briefing.

Tokyo`s logo is based around the letter "T" -- for Tokyo, tomorrow and team with a red circle representing a beating heart.

The theatre`s logo features a similar shape in white against a black background.

But Sano`s design has "many elements" not seen in the Belgian emblem, Muto said, adding that the committee twice asked him to tweak his original work to avoid any possible trademark violations.

Sano rejected the accusations of plagiarism as "baseless" earlier this month, telling reporters: "I`ve never been to Belgium, and I`ve never (previously) seen the logo" designed by Debie.

But he has admitted that his team copied designs found on bags used in a promotional beer campaign for Japanese drinks giant Suntory.

The controversy comes as Japanese Olympic officials are still smarting over a national stadium fiasco after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered plans to be torn up in the face of growing anger over its eye-watering $2 billion price tag.