2015.12.04 Friday

018 An investigation for what? What is the purpose of the investigation - vol.1

On November 30, I declined a review request made by the Organizing Committee. Actually, all along, I had been thinking I should be part of the review. I considered it was a matter of taking responsibility as a member of the selection committee. Even before the request was made, as soon as the organizing committee decided to withdraw the Olympic logo, I felt it would be well-advised to conduct an internal review. In fact I was quietly urging the official of the organizing committee to launch one. I made my position clear. Yet I declined to take part in the review. I am sure an explanation is in order. In the following few chapters including this segment, I would like to give an account of what happened—starting with the request, up to my decision to decline—and  explain the reasons why I made the decision. Along the way, I will give my thoughts on the review itself.

On October 29, 2015, I received an email from a certain official from the risk management department of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) secretariat, requesting my cooperation for an internal review. On the same day I sent my consent with the words: “Please feel assured, as a judge who was on the panel for selecting of the Olympic emblem during the previous round, I am ready to give my full cooperation”. Then, after I accepted the request, I found a public news article regarding the review on the internet. When I read the piece I discovered a few items regarding the upcoming review that were not revealed in the email, which made me uneasy. According to the news article, it was possible to decline a hearing request and the review itself was non-binding—thus, the article concluded, it was doubtful whether it was possible to get to the bottom of the matter, nor if any disciplinary action could be taken, even if the review uncovered irregularities in the judging process (October 29, 2015, Nikkan Sports News digital online edition). So, in effect, according to the article, the review was not enforceable. I found the names of the external evaluators who would be in charge of the review. Their respective job titles were given in order to show their specific fields of expertise. Though I had been told the review would be conducted by external review specialists, I discovered the name of a judge who was on the Olympic emblem selection committee. The policy regarding the review, the contents it would encompass, the names of the external review specialists were surely integral pieces of information that should have been revealed when I was asked to partake in the internal review, at the time the request was made. I realized the vagueness of the request, the lack of concrete information, only after I read this news report on the internet, an article released by the media. If such valuable information regarding the review was already revealed to the press, I am sure these were matters that had already been decided upon, at the time I received the review request. Then why couldn’t they have told me about the contents of the review; why not tell me the important information at the time of the request. The intentions of the organizing committee remained a mystery to me. On November 1, I asked that they send me an official request to take part in the review, and give me detailed information, in writing; I also informed them that in the meanwhile, I would like to withdraw my consent to take part in the review, until I finish going over the official documents upon their receipt, and fully understand the main purpose and the methods of the review.

Through the numerous exchanges I had with the organizing committee regarding the Olympic emblem issue, I have come to realize the rigidity of their methods—in short, it never wavers. Nothing is expressed clearly in definite words; it is an endless exchange of vague words and expressions. It requires a tremendous amount of energy to decipher the meaning of these messages, compared to a regular, straightforward give and take. Ultimately, the transaction leave me with an uncomfortable sense of frustration.

In the email I received from the official of the organizing committee requesting my participation in the review, the wording goes like this: (…) As for the organizing committee, through the internal review conducted so far, we feel we have managed to supervise the submitted works properly and maintained anonymity at the judging session in a fair manner (…) Through this internal review we hope to dispel all doubts against the organizing committee. (…).  These very words go to show that, even before the official investigation has begun, the organizing committee has already reached its own decision. Are these appropriate words to be uttered pre-review? I cannot contain my doubts. If I take these words at face value, and if the real object of the review by the organizing committee is to dispel all doubts against the organizing committee, and if self-protection is really the prerequisite for the whole review, we can already see where the review is going to take us. Unless the reviewer and the reviewee cast away notions of self-defense and self-preservation, the results derived from the upcoming review will be meaningless. I tried to question the purpose of implementing an internal review led by the organizing committee. In order to figure out what the review was for, I repeatedly asked questions and tried to identify the principles behind the review and confirm the methods to be taken—I am afraid, to no avail. I just could not understand the purpose nor meaning of conducting such a review. The bottom line is I felt I could not be held responsible for the outcome—thus I decided to say no to the review request.

In my mind, the purpose of an internal review, in its original sense, should be to investigate the cause and get to the bottom of a problem; and once the cause is defined, those who are found accountable should take responsibility; and after taking time for reflection, should make sure to prevent the same problems from recurring. For this process, a proper research procedure must be implemented. At this time, the organizing committee proposed an extremely short review period of merely a month. The method proposed was a complete charade. On paper, a team of external evaluators would be brought in. Yet it was apparently the organizing committee that was running its own show. Furthermore, the review method was going to be a voluntary hearing from persons related to the issue, only. How was such an all-too-easy survey, stacked with multiple players with personal and corporate interests and subsequent hidden agendas, going to help shed light on the Olympic emblem problem? It was truly unrealistic. People were going to be asked to trace their faint memories and go over events that had taken place over a year ago. Who was going to guarantee the credibility of such a hearing? In regards to this issue, I would like to make another point. In addition to the respondents to the survey, who were the actual players, there were plenty of people who were involved in the event. I don’t think enough consideration was given in selecting the list of people for the hearing. I feel that it may be prudent to take statements from people who can afford to take an objective view, rather than hearing from the people who were involved in the thick of things. That way it is possible to get more factual evidence. I am sure that there is plenty of physical evidence and records that can be mined for facts, including paperwork and emails. Patiently stacking physical evidence, piece by piece, is definitely going to be a more credible method. Isn’t this the method that should be employed? When I contemplated such things, I could not help thinking that the purpose of the review was not directed towards investigating the cause, getting to the root of the problem and finding a solution. The organizing committee maintained that a voluntary hearing would suffice—I could not agree less. Maybe, when I get to see the results and read the final review report I will see what the organizing committee had in mind as to the true purpose of the review.

I looked up the word “voluntary” in the dictionary. I found the definition: “done or given willingly, without being forced; proceeding from one's free choice.”
Keiko Hirano
Keiko Hirano:
Designer/Visioner, Executive Director of Communication Design Laboratory
Hirano served on the panel that chose the official emblem for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, which was ultimately withdrawn.

001 責任がとれる方法で 002 公募期間の短さ 003 『展開』『展開性』『展開力』 004 知らされなかった招待作家 005 ブログを読んで下さっているみなさまへ 006 利害優先の土壌 007 修正案承諾拒否の経緯と理由 - vol.1 008 修正案承諾拒否の経緯と理由 - vol.2 009 『公』の仕事 010 専門家の盾 011 秘密保持誓約書という密室 012 いまこそ、私心なき専門性を問う 013 判断の論拠 014 最終の審議 015 金銭感覚と敬意の相対性 016 表現におけるモラリティと表現者のモラル 017 言葉のちから 018 何のための調査なのか、調査の目的は何なのか - vol.1 019 何のための調査なのか、調査の目的は何なのか - vol.2 020 何のための調査なのか、調査の目的は何なのか - vol.3 021 何のための調査なのか、調査の目的は何なのか - vol.4 022 願い 023 摩訶不思議な調査報告書 024 負の遺産とならないように 025 出口なき迷路 026 届かぬ思い 027「社会に位置づくデザイン」という観点 028 無責任主義の村 029 審査委員として知り得た情報のすべて 030 新聞寄稿文への異論 - vol.1 031 新聞寄稿文への異論 - vol.2 032 1対3の構図 - 「A案」VS「BCD案」 033 今を生きる 034 負の連鎖……を断つために 035 欲望の公害 精神の断絶 036 イカサマ文書 by JAGDA - vol.1 037 イカサマ文書 by JAGDA - vol.2 038 イカサマ文書 by JAGDA - vol.3 039 事実はひとつ 040 新世界へ 041 JAGDA文書への意見と要望 ― 法律の専門家による分析 042 JAGDAの回答 JAGDAへの要望書 043 「要望書へのJAGDAの回答」に対する更なる質問 044 「意見書へのJAGDAの回答」に対する質問と提案 045 ブラック・デザイン
Tokyo 2020 Olympics Logo Controversy--Facts and Observations 001 My way of taking responsibility 002 Duration of contest was way short 003 “Development” “Development Capabilities” “Development Power” 004 Guest artists I wasn’t told about 005 To My Readers 006 A culture where special interests take priority 007 How and why I refused to accept the modified design - vol.1 008 How and why I refused to accept the modified design - vol.2 009 Strictly “public” work 010 Specialists as shields 011 Behind closed doors-secrecy surrounding a non-disclosure agreement 012 Time to put selfless expertise to the test 013 Rationale behind my decision 014 The final review session 015 Is the money mindset relative to paying respect? 016 Morality of expression and the morals of its creator 017 The power of words 018 An investigation for what? What is the purpose of the investigation - vol.1 019 An investigation for what? What is the purpose of the investigation - vol.2 020 An investigation for what? What is the purpose of the investigation - vol.3 021 An investigation for what? What is the purpose of the investigation - vol.4 022 My wish 023 Mystifying investigation report is out 024 In order to prevent a negative legacy 025 Stuck in a maze with no exit 026 A voice unheard 027 A viewpoint that calls for “design with a place in society” 028 A village with a policy of irresponsibility 029 Every piece of information that I garnered as a judge on the selection committee 030 Objections to a newspaper contribution - vol.1 031 Objections to a newspaper contribution - vol.2 032 The underlying picture of one against three - “Plan A” versus “Plans BCD” 033 Living in the moment 034 Putting a stop……to a negative chain of events 035 Pollution by greed and discontinuity of the spirit 036 Bogus document by JAGDA - vol.1 037 Bogus document by JAGDA - vol.2 038 Bogus document by JAGDA - vol.3 039 Every fact has only one version 040 Toward a whole new world 041 Opinion and request regarding JAGDA document―An analysis by a legal specialist 042 Reply from JAGDA Request letter to JAGDA 043 More questions re: "Reply from JAGDA regarding Request Letter" 044 Questions and proposal re: "Reply from JAGDA regarding Request Letter" 045 Rogue design