Tokyo Olympics protest parody of logo that depicts COVID-19

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This website photo shows the cover design, left, of Number 1 Shimbun on its online edition, Tuesday, May 19, 2020. Tokyo Olympics officials are incensed that their games emblem has been used in the cover design of the local magazine that combines the logo with the novel coronavirus. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)

TOKYO — Tokyo Olympics officials are incensed that their games emblem has been used in the cover design of a local magazine that combines the logo with the novel coronavirus.

Tokyo spokesman Masa Takaya said in an online news conference on Tuesday that organizers had requested the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan “take down” the image.

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Takaya did not answer a direct question if Tokyo 2020 was planning a legal challenge. He suggested negotiations were going on “in a private manner” with the Tokyo foreign journalists’ club.

“It is very disappointing to see the games emblem being distorted and associated with the novel coronavirus, which affects human life, people’s lives, the economy, and our society,” Takaya said. “The design is clearly using the design of the Olympic emblem. We therefore consider it an infringement on our legally secured copyright to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic emblem.”

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He said Tokyo 2020 had not yet received a formal reply to its request.

The “look-alike”emblem, which had “COVID-19” written underneath, was published on the cover the the April issue of the club’s magazine. It also appeared in an online edition.

The FCCJ did not respond immediately to a request for comment from the Associated Press.

In an article about the logo published several days ago by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, it named the artist as Andrew Pothecary. It identified him as a British designer based in Japan who serves the magazine’s art director.

The artist said he viewed the design as a parody, though other designers interviewed by the newspaper suggest parody was difficult with a topic such as the virus and pandemic.

“It is insensitive to many people being affected,” Takaya, the Tokyo spokesman, said.

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