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Tokyo 2020 logo designer rebuffs plagiarism claims

The Japanese designer of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games logo has vehemently denied that he copied the work of a Belgium designer after claims emerged last week.

Olivier Debie said Kenjiro Sano's logo bore a resemblance to his design for the Theatre de Liege and although not a registered trademark, his own copyright was compromised. A letter was reportedly sent to the Tokyo Olympic organisers demanding a response to his allegations.

In a press conference held today (5 August) Sano addressed the claims for the first time said he was surprised and shocked by the allegations.

According to Reuters he told reporters that Debie's claims were "completely untrue" and said that he wasn't aware of the Theatre de Liege logo nor had he ever visited Belgium.

"Of course I didn't take that [logo] as an example, there is absolutely nothing to that talk."

"I take a lot of time with every design, nurturing them like children. So for this kind of talk to emerge is really unfortunate and kind of sad," Sano added.

The Tokyo 2020 design centres around a 'T' for the country's capital and features a black column, a red circle and gold and silver curves, which echo the Japanese flag.

Debie however is not convinced and in an email seen by the Wall Street Journal said: “We live in a world in which images are shared. The Theater logo has been on the web for two years. It can have been seen. The similarity between the two logos is striking".

Tokyo 2020 officials declined to reveal the contents of Debie's letter of complaint.