By YUSUKE SAITO/ Staff Writer
May 20, 2020 at 17:05 JST
Citing copyright infringement, Tokyo Olympics organizers demanded the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan take down the cover design of its monthly magazine Number 1 Shimbun.
The April issue of the magazine, which is available online, features a striking resemblance to the logo of the Tokyo Olympics with COVID-19 printed underneath.
“The design infringes the copyright law,” an official of the organizing committee complained May 19.
The edition is devoted to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Twitter was flooded with comments both critical and favorable.
“Too explicit expression,” said one. “Very sarcastic,” said another.
“It is very clear that the design is drawn based on the Tokyo Olympic emblem,” the organizing committee official said.
The committee asked the FCCJ verbally and via e-mail by May 18 to address the issue.
“The design regrettably shows an utter lack of respect for many people and athletes, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic is causing so much damage around the world,” the official added.
The organizing committee did not mention whether it intended to seek legal redress.
The cover was created by Andrew Pothecary, 58, a Tokyo-based British designer who serves as art director for the magazine.
Pothecary said his intention was to make a powerful statement about the situation in Japan in light of the fact information related to the coronavirus pandemic keeps changing daily.
He added that he took inspiration for the design from a statement by Finance Minister Taro Aso that the Tokyo Olympics was cursed as well as doubts he harbored about a sudden surge in COVID-19 infections in Japan soon after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that the Olympics would be delayed by a year.
Pothecary also explained his view that parody plays an important role of speaking the truth toward those in authority.
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