FILE PHOTO: A passerby wearing a protective face mask following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) walks past a screen displaying logos of Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan March 19, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato
TOKYO (Reuters) – A media association has withdrawn its coronavirus-themed parody of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics logo after the local organising committee called it offensive and a violation of copyright.
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club Japan had published on its website and in-house magazine a design adding protrusions to the circular Olympics logo in imitation of a COVID-19 particle.
“It’s very offensive … when you consider the people of the world who have suffered from the coronavirus,” the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee CEO Toshiro Muto told reporters on Thursday.
He said it was an infringement of copyright but did not threaten legal action.
The press club quickly removed the design and apologised.
“We would like to express our sincere regrets to anyone who may have (been) offended on all sides of this issue and to anyone who lost someone, let me express the deepest condolences,” said club president Khaldon Azhari.
The Olympics have been postponed until July next year due to the coronavirus, which has killed about 800 people and infected 17,000 in Japan, though now doubts are growing over that timetable due to the protracted pandemic.
Azhari, speaking to media also on Thursday, said legal experts had advised the club would not have a strong case on the copyright issue and anyway did not consider it appropriate to enter a dispute during the pandemic.
Reporting by Sakura Murakami; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne