“Tokyo 2020 Olympics Logo Controversy--Facts and Observations” This is the title you see at the top of this blog’s index listing. I decided on this title to make my position clear as I voiced my statements. I deliberately chose the word “fact”: I was airing my views using a public forum, and I wanted to make sure there would be no interposing of lies or arbitrary ideas―no underhanded tactics here. I chose the word “fact” as a way to brace myself. Every “fact” has only one version. The singularity is what gives the fact significant weight and what gives it credibility.
In regards to the Olympic emblem problem, I saw with my own eyes how major players, each with their own agendas, got caught up in a tangle of lies. Though the structure of the problem is quite simple, it comes off as we are stuck in a chaotic situation. In reality, the actual cause and the structure of the problem are extremely straightforward. Therefore, if only people could look at the Olympic emblem problem with unclouded eyes, even if they had no special information provided to those in the know, I think they would be able to understand the Olympic emblem problem.
To this day, those at the center of the problem continue to spew lie after lie and we cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel yet. However, there is hope in the fact that lies can never shake off inconsistencies and contradictions. Faced with true “facts” lies will collapse. It is inevitable. Therefore, I would like to continue with my recording of “facts” through this blog.
“Dear members: We have compiled our views regarding the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games and the first design competition for the Olympic and Paralympic emblems. Ever since the emblem problem came to light, we have held numerous discussions within JAGDA. At this time we have compiled an overview that encompasses JAGDA’s thoughts at every phase and juncture related to the first design competition, and states how we stand right now. This is a comprehensive statement which has met the approval of all current members of the board and the steering committee. I would now like to present this important document…(Read out of the statement)…So, that concludes our statement. Let me repeat once again, that this comprehensive statement has met the approval of all members of the board and the steering committee after considerable discussions from various angles. We hereby seek your kind approval. Thank you.”
That was the opening statement made by Kenya Hara, vice president of JAGDA, on June 25, at the beginning of the general assembly.
In the opening, Mr. Hara added the explanation that “this is a comprehensive statement which has met the approval of all current members of the board and the steering committee”, and sprang the JAGDA overview statement as the meeting’s first item on the agenda. After the read out of the statement which took 24 minutes, Mr. Hara prompted the audience for their “kind approval”. The statement entitled “Regarding the 1st design competition for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games emblems” was duly approved by majority vote, with the exception of one naysayer. This is what took place at the JAGDA general assembly on June 25. And it is a fact.
Though the document was presented at the general assembly as an item on the agenda, and subsequently approved, according to the “voting sheet” that was sent to JAGDA members beforehand, there was no notation of the JAGDA statement being part of the agenda. Therefore approval at the general meeting does not stand, and must be considered void. In view of what is generally accepted, there is no mistake about this. It is final. However, the JAGDA office has yet to come up with an explanation or a report on the matter. The fact that the JAGDA office remains mum tells us that the board which is headed by the JAGDA president and vice president has either not made up its mind, or is not giving instructions to the office. The fact that no explanation has been offered tells us that the board is not functioning; it is not taking charge as the leader of JAGDA. It was the board that led the compilation of the official statement and staged the approval at the general assembly. Does the board believe that their method taken at this time―forcing a vote, railroading the document through the assembly without informing the members beforehand―was indeed appropriate? Or, don’t they? Do they know what they did was wrong? Do they even feel that what they did was dishonest? Was it a simple mistake, or a deliberate act? Whatever the answer, the board, as the perpetrator of the action must give an explanation as to its intentions and an account of what took place. They have an obligation. Yet, they continue to keep their silence. On their JAGDA website, they chose to release only a portion of their overview statement booklet that was distributed to all members. Their action is hard to believe. It is unworthy of a public interest incorporated association. There is something fundamentally off and distorted about the situation, which continues to make us feel uncomfortable.
Ever since the general assembly was held, none of the documents that have been released from the JAGDA office contain a word of explanation as to the statement “Regarding the 1st design competition for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games emblems” being approved as a resolution item at the assembly; there has been no account regarding the fact the method taken to achieve the goal was a forced vote―both wrongful and unjust; there has been nothing in relation to the document that was released in the JAGDA website that points to the fact that not all pages of the booklet that was distributed to the members, the official statement per se, were released: that the statement on offer is a partial segment only―no reason is offered. That is not all. Something strange and curious is taking place. Words that explain the positioning of the overview statement, how it stands, have been shifting with time. Let me explain what is actually happening.
[Changes regarding the positioning of the JAGDA overview statement]
(1) June 25
As this is an overview that was compiled having met the approval of all current members of the board and steering committee (…). It has been released as a comprehensive statement that was approved by the board and the steering committee after being thoroughly discussed from various angles.
(Statement by JAGDA vice president, at the general assembly)
(2) July 19
This document is (…) finally came to agreement.
(Cover letter sent out with the JAGDA statement)
(3) July 28
This document is (…) the conclusion of the consensus building process. It is the statement to which we agreed to append our signatures.
(Statement taken from JAGDA website)
At the time of the general assembly on June 25, the document was introduced with the words: “It is an overview that was compiled having met the approval of all members of the board and steering committee”, which assures us that the document was indeed approved by all members of the board and all members of the steering committee. Afterwards, JAGDA begins to change its tune with each explanation. The initial “met approval” becomes “came to agreement”; furthermore evolving into “conclusion of consensus building” and “agreed to sign”. The wording undergoes a change each time JAGDA opens its mouth.
If indeed“It is an overview that was compiled having met the approval of all members of the board and steering committee”, is a fact, why did JAGDA stop claiming the overview statement “met approval”. Why were they compelled to stop using the expression?
If they were compelled to change their explanation from “met the approval of all members of the board and steering committee” to “came to agreement” or “agreed to sign”, if there was a reason that they had to do so―what if there was no fact in the first place? Maybe members of the board and the steering committee all giving their approval was not a fact, but merely a falsehood. I raise this question because I heard from a member of the steering committee that the said statement was sent over to this person, right before the general assembly. I was told that there was not much time before the assembly; dialogue regarding the document had to be conducted in a rush. Though the member of the steering committee took issue with the contents and pushed for a correction, it was never fully reflected in the final account. So the situation was far from perfect, insufficient to say the least, yet the statement was presented at the general assembly on June 25. It was introduced with the false pretense that it had “met the approval of all members of the board and steering committee” and was followed by a forced voting. If this was what actually happened, it must have been the members of the board and the steering committee who were taken by surprise at the general assembly, when they witnessed what was taking place before their eyes.
Mr. Hara may have pronounced, “Let me repeat once again, that this comprehensive statement has met the approval of all members of the board and the steering committee after considerable discussions from various angles”―but what was actually taking place behind the scenes at JAGDA administration was a farce, if not slapstick. If board members and steering committee members had not voiced their opposition and questioned the legitimacy of the voting that took place at the general assembly, I believe JAGDA would not have seen any reason to rewrite their account, to change the wording from “met approval” to “agreed to”, and finally to “consensus building” and “agreed to sign”.
As can be seen, on paper, including the cover letter, the words “met with approval” were taken out. Yet, in the main text that is now uploaded on the JAGDA official website, we can still read: “We would now like to offer this comprehensive statement which has met the approval of the board and the steering committee, to our esteemed members.” (Excerpt from “Regarding the 1st design competition for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games emblems”, page 1) It reveals, in plain words, that the statement was approved. If all members of the board and the steering committee had in fact, not approved of the statement, these words that claim otherwise, become a falsification.
In the aftermath of the Olympic emblem issue, we are facing yet another major problem that has arisen in regards to the JAGDA official statement. The organization used a fraudulent method, a trick, to give the impression that all JAGDA members gave their approval to obtain the seal of approval of an official overview statement. With the fait accompli in place, the objective is to establish the bogus document as a piece of history, as whitewash, to cover up all wrongs. This is an extremely wicked form of information manipulation that is being conducted by JAGDA as an organization, before our very eyes. To witness the fact, to give a tacit approval, to let it go, and to accept—is tantamount to being complicit in this wrongful action. That is why we cannot allow this outrageous act of wrongdoing by JAGDA. To do so is just like admitting to the world: “Yes, we, the graphic designers of Japan, are all big fat liars—we are an existence unworthy of trust.”
If we were to go along with this situation, in fifty years’ time―it is most likely that most of the people currently involved in this issue would be far gone by then―the world would be left with this bogus document “Regarding the 1st design competition for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games emblems”. There is no doubt about that. The account will be acknowledged as true fact in the history of time. The document consists of numerous fabrications and distortion of facts, which are extremely misleading, allowing distorted falsehoods to be construed as fact. But this much is true. However hard the major players of the Olympic emblem issue may try to conjure up a bogus document and give a distorted account of what took place, there is no way they can whitewash “the fact”. That is because every “fact” has only one version.
Through the Olympic emblem issue I have encountered enough situations that have made me think hard about the current status surrounding information manipulation rooted in the internet environment. I am observing with much interest how economic clout allows the covering up of inconvenient information. It does not matter how hard the person who was deeply involved in the emblem issue tries to manipulate information; it does not matter if the facts get obscured and facts get distorted by deliberate information manipulation; it does not matter if lies are told or silences are kept. The bottom line is, regarding the design competition for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, there is only one “fact” as to who came up with what thoughts and what action was taken. There is only one version of the true “fact”. And there is no one who can change that “fact”.
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.