In the build up to the upcoming OlympicGames to be held in Tokyo in 2020 there will be instances or speculation as tosome instances of wrongdoing concerning why Tokyo won the bid and the otherbidding cities were unsuccessful. These instances are usually nothing more thanspeculation or possibly a case of sour grapes on the part of one or moreparties that were hoping to gain in some way through a rival bid. To date thereare two instances of controversy or concern surrounding the Tokyo 2020 bid solet us have a look at those two instances and you can then decide if they areplausible for concern or not.

IAAF Bribary Claims

January 2016 saw the second part of areport by the World Anti-Doping Agency. The commission’s report was intocorruption and as a footnote it detailed a conversation held between KhalilDiack and Turkish officials that were high up the chain from the bid team ofIstanbul. Khalil Diack is the son of Lamine Diack, the former president of theInternational Association of Athletics Federations the IAAF.

Payments to either the Diamond League or the IAAF

 In the report it was mentioned that a transcript of their conversation made the suggestion that a payment for sponsorship had been made. The payment was between US$4 and 5 million and that it had been made either to the Diamond League or to the IAAF. The claim was that the payment had been made by the bidding team representing the Japanese city. The footnote into this report continued that because the Istanbul bid team did not make such a payment that the Turkish bid then lost the support of the then IAAF president Lamine Diack. When asked about these claims in the reports footnote the World Anti-Doping Agency declined an investigation stating that it was in itself an independent commission and fell outside of their remit.

Looking back here and two areas stand out as speculation.

 Thepayment was between 4 and 5 million, well if there was concrete evidence of apayment then how much was it exactly? Thesecond area was the payment to the Diamond League or to the IAAF?

Alleged deals involving Black Tidings

In July 2013, prior to being awarded theOlympic Games and in October of that year there were allegedly two bankpayments made from Tokyo to a Singapore based company called Black Tidings.These alleged payments totaled SG$2.8 million. Black Tidings has connections toPapa Massata Diack, another of Lamine Diack’s sons. Papa Massata Diack alsoworked as a consultant doing some marketing work for the IAAF. Papa MassataDiack is currently being investigated by the French authorities concerningbribery, money laundering and corruption allegations. In Singapore, Ian TanTong Han is a consultant of Black Tidings, he is also a consultant of AthleticsManagement and Services. This consultancy work manages the commercial rights ofthe IAAF in addition to having good business relationships with the Japanesefirm of Dentsu. Black Tidings also has been connected to the Russian athleticsteams doping scandal.Tsunekazu Takeda, a member of the JapaneseOlympic Committee as well as a Tokyo 2020 board member has publicly stated thatthe payments were made for consultancy work and claimed that no furtherdiscussion would take place as it was a confidential matter. Papa Massata Diackhas denied that he has received any money from the organizing committee ofTokyo 2020. The International Olympic Committee has meanwhile established ateam of investigators to determine the facts over these allegations and theyare closely monitoring the investigation being conducted by the Frenchauthorities.

Allegations of Logo Plagiarism

Initially, the design of the official Olympic emblems for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics were announced on the 24th of July 2015 at an unveiling ceremony. The chosen logo was a stylized “T” with a red circle in the top right that was said to represent a beating heart in addition to representing the flag of Japan. A dark grey column as the central part of the “T” represented diversity. The design of the Paralympic logo was an inverted version of the Olympic pattern.

Not long after the logo’s were unveiled, Olivier Debie, a Belgian graphic designer made the allegation to the organizing committee that the designs were plagiarized and too closely resembled the designs he had previously designed for the Theatre de Liege. The designs, apart from the circle were nearly identical. The organizing committee of the Tokyo games denied the plagiarism claim and stated that the design had undergone a long and exhausting examination before it was chosen.  Olivier Debie then filed a lawsuit preventing the IOC from using the design claiming the logo was an infringement of his work.

The original plagiarized logo’s with the Theatre de Liege logo below.

Kenjiro Sano, the designer of the Tokyo emblem defended his design by stating he had not previously seen the Theatre de Liege design. He even claimed that the “T” in his logo did not resemble the one used in the Liege design. It was discovered however, that Sano had a history of using plagiarism. He was accused of plagiarizing the work of others in using promotional material connected to the emblem. On the 1st of September 2015, the Governor of Tokyo, Yoichi Masuzoe made the announcement after an emergency meeting of the organizing committee that the two Sano designs were to be scrapped. The committee met again the following day to decide the process of another logo design. An emblems selection committee was then hastily organized and on the 24th of November 2015 it was announced that design proposals were open to all Japanese residents that are aged 18 or over and then the deadline for designs was set at December 7th 2015, so just two weeks for participants to come up with a winning design. The incentive for winning was high. The winning designer would receive 1 million Yen as well as tickets to the opening ceremonies of both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. On the 8th of April 2016, a shortlist of four designs was announced with the final decision to be unveiled on 25th April 2016. The winning design was created by Asao Tokolo, it is a ring in an indigo-colored checked pattern. The design is said to “express refined elegance and sophistication that exemplifies Japan.”