It was on June 25 that the JAGDA overview statement was sprung without previous notice at the JAGDA general assembly as an item on the agenda and approved by the assembly. Nearly two months later, on August 12, an email arrived from the JAGDA office. I started reading, assuming that the organization was finally offering an explanation regarding the string of events. I was wrong. Just like the bogus JAGDA document itself, no facts were being revealed. Most of the short message was comprised of a surreptitious switch of viewpoints, sophistry and fabrications―a bogus email. It was such a sham that I decided to start by deciphering the JAGDA mail before critiquing the JAGDA overview document.
The JAGDA email is signed by the bureau director of the JAGDA office, as a way to avert the attention of JAGDA members from the JAGDA board. First of all, we must understand that the contents of the mail is the embodiment of the intentions of the JAGDA board; it is a reflection of the board’s will. It is business as usual―more sophistry and groundless untruths. It is actually very revealing, telling us how much the JAGDA board and the JAGDA office hold the general public in contempt. They remain irresponsible and insolent and obviously lack the ability to get a good grasp of the situation.
I will begin by presenting the contents of the JAGDA email that was sent out.
(*Underlines and red highlights added by author)
To all JAGDA members:
A notice regarding our overview statement “Regarding the 1st design competition for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games emblems”
At the 2016 JAGDA general assembly held on June 25, Saturday, as part of the first item on the agenda―a summary of JAGDA operations for fiscal 2015―JAGDA vice president Kenya Hara read out the overview statement given here above.
The overview statement is a summarization of the views of all the members of the board and the steering committee for fiscal year 2014-2015, pertaining to the Olympic logo controversy. It was the assembly chairperson’s discretion to expedite proceedings, and as a result, the overview statement was seemingly incorporated as part of the first item of the agenda when approval was sought at the assembly. However, the statement had not been communicated to or distributed to all members beforehand as an item to be included in the agenda, thus the statement itself remains unapproved by the general assembly. On behalf of the JAGDA secretariat office, I would like to offer my apologies for the inadequate proceedings that invited such a misunderstanding.
The statement was then sent by mail to all members on July 14 (and posted on the JAGDA website on July 28 for the general public). As was noted on the cover letter it was decided and reconfirmed at the steering committee meeting (July 25) and the board meeting (August 9) respectively, that opinions and comments from members would be integrated.
The contact address for your opinions and comments was not included in the said cover letter. Please note the address given herewith. The deadline for submissions for now will be set at the end of September. The contents of your submissions will be shared by the board and the steering committee.
Japan Graphic Designers Association
(Email sent from JAGDA, August 12, 2016)
I made notations underlining and highlighting areas that seemed problematic in red. Let me continue with my reading:
First of all this is a “notice” so there must be an objective. I started by thinking what the objective of the email was. The JAGDA overview statement was approved by vote at the general assembly. In my four blog postings starting with chapter 036, I outlined the problems regarding the methodology of the approval process. Through my blog, it became widely known that the approval, obtained at the general assembly, does not stand. Therefore JAGDA should be pressed to give an explanation of the current situation to its members. Yet the JAGDA email fails to give an account of what took place. Instead of hard facts, we find the very suspicious word “misunderstanding” being used in the text.
What is this “inadequate proceedings that invited such a misunderstanding”, anyway?
I asked a member who actually attended the general assembly whether there was any “inadequate proceedings (by the chairperson) that invited such a misunderstanding”. I was told: “The assembly chairperson steered the meeting smoothly. So there was no misunderstanding in regards to the proceedings. If there was any misunderstanding, it was regarding the JAGDA overview statement that was not on the agenda in the first place; it was presented as a read-out by a board member, as part of the first item on the agenda. There was a vote and it was approved. I can see how this can be construed as inadequate proceedings that invited a misunderstanding. However, I only realized that the statement had not been part of the agenda, after the event. So, on the day of the general assembly, there was no misunderstanding regarding the proceedings itself. There was nothing that invited any misunderstanding”.
Going back to the text, in the lead-up to this “proceedings that invited a misunderstanding” we find the statement: “It was the assembly chairperson’s discretion to expedite proceedings, and as a result, the overview statement was seemingly incorporated as part of the first item of the agenda when approval was sought at the assembly”. The words give the impression that it was the chair’s way of proceeding that inadvertently caused the overview statement to be incorporated in the agenda and presented for overall approval. Furthermore, “the chairperson’s discretion to expedite proceedings” makes it clear that it was the chair who was acting as master of the ceremony―thus, making sure that the finger is pointed to the chairperson who was in charge of “the proceedings that invited a misunderstanding”. In effect, the sentence reads as if the situation was brought about by the chairperson’s problematic way of expediting proceedings, it was the chairperson’s wrongdoing that invited a grave misunderstanding―it was the chairperson who brought it on.
However deep we probe, the board won’t admit to any wrongdoing regarding the inappropriate railroading that took place at the assembly. Not only will the board not make any admission, it stoops low and insinuates that it was the chairperson, a JAGDA member, who should take the blame. It is a display of irresponsible logic. The general assembly was attended by 201 members; there were 2,848 absentees―an overwhelming number of members were absent, more than 14 times the number of those present. Considering the situation, an explanation coming from JAGDA seems to be the only way for members to obtain official information. Yet why can’t JAGDA, a public interest incorporated association, tell the truth?
Let me proceed with my reading. I sense something fishy with the wording “(the overview statement was) seemingly incorporated as part of the first item of the agenda when approval was sought at the assembly”. What actually happened at the general assembly was closer to “actively seeking approval”. There was nothing “seemingly” about the situation. A board member read the whole JAGDA overview statement aloud, taking 24 minutes out of the assembly time; after he finished reading, the JAGDA board member urged the members to “give their assent”―seeking their approval. As a result, there was a vote and the statement was approved at the assembly by majority vote. There was one member who protested on the spot, claiming, “This is unacceptable”. His protest was interrupted by an official who said: “(…) we need to vote on this today. If we don’t reach a resolution today, we won’t be able to face tomorrow if we want to continue to function as a legitimate organization. Let us proceed according to the agenda”. In the end, the statement was approved by the assembly. I have posted the details in my blog chapter 037.
When JAGDA board members got stuck on their answers, an official cut in: “It was the Board and the Steering Committee that made the decision regarding this statement. So we really don’t care if you approve or not… However, if we don’t reach a resolution today, we won’t be able to face tomorrow if we want to continue to function as a legitimate organization. Let us proceed according to the agenda.” The official made sure the Q&A session was brought to a close and the meeting moved on to the next item on the agenda.
(Chapter 037 “Bogus document by JAGDA - vol.2”, 3rd paragraph http://hiranokeiko.tokyo/?eid=77)
In my blog I used the word “JAGDA office” as I did not want to give personal names. Actually, the official who said, “However, if we don’t reach a resolution today, we won’t be able to face tomorrow if we want to continue to function as a legitimate organization. Let us proceed according to the agenda”, pushing strongly for approval, was Mr. Oseko, director of the JAGDA office, the person who sent the JAGDA email. Why would the very person who was actively pursuing approval of the statement, in cooperation with the board member at the assembly, choose to obscure the situation with the ambiguous phrase “(the overview statement was) seemingly incorporated as part of the first item of the agenda when approval was sought at the assembly”, and further try to switch the viewpoint claiming that there was “inappropriate proceedings that invited a misunderstanding”, as if the proceedings were at fault? Why would he engage in a covert operation to maneuver impressions and try to pass the buck―attributing responsibility to a third party outside the board? Let us consider why the board is given the highest responsibility? Think about it.
Why can’t JAGDA come out with the truth?
Why won’t they reveal the truth?
Why continue with the deception?
There is only one version to the actual facts. A board member orchestrated the creation of the JAGDA overview statement, which was presented as the first item on the agenda; he sought approval with the request to “give your assent”, a vote took place and the statement was approved. However, this approval process was inappropriate as it did not follow the rules. As a rule, the document had to be sent to all JAGDA members before the general assembly. Without a record of that action, the document could not be presented at the assembly for approval. Without mentioning the irregularities, JAGDA went on to seek approval at the assembly and won an approval. Then JAGDA had to retract the approval, so it was retracted. These are the events the JAGDA email should have addressed and explained.
Why won’t the party concerned reveal what happened and explain what happened? If the person continues to refuse to give an explanation, shouldn’t he resign from his position?
On July 6, 2016, JAGDA sent out its newsletter “JAGDA news” to all its members. It is stated that “Agenda: All items on the agenda were approved by majority vote”.
■ Members: 2016 Ordinary General Meeting Report
On June 25, Saturday, the JAGDA ordinary general meeting and general assembly took place at Kamishichiken Kaburenjo Theater in Kyoto to great success.
▼2016 The 33rd Ordinary General Meeting
Attendees: 1,550 (201 participants/1,059 votes by paper/290 powers-of-attorney)
Quorum: 1,525 (3,049 constituents)
Agenda: All items on the agenda were approved by majority vote
(From “JAGDA news” posted July 6, 2016)
So, once again, if I cast my mind on the events from the day of the general assembly, I can think of two possibilities as to what actually took place.
The first possibility is as follows: “Both the JAGDA board and the director of the JAGDA secretariat pushed for the approval of the document as an agenda item. This can be deduced from the fact that on the day of the assembly, when a member voiced an objection, it was the director of the office who broke in to stop the member from continuing with his objection. On the other hand, during the 24-minute reading of the statement by a board member who presented the statement as an item on the agenda, the same official did not halt the proceedings, but rather, helped expedite the proceedings. Thus both the board and the secretariat office both worked in tandem to promote the approval of the document as part of the agenda at the general assembly; and approval by majority vote was attained. Yet when a third party pointed out the inappropriate method by which approval was obtained, they were forced to correct the fact, correct what took place at the general assembly. The board’s intention was not to seek responsibility of the board member. So a statement was released announcing ‘the document was not approved’ accompanied by an explanation that hinted at a mishandling of proceedings at the assembly.”
Another possibility: “The JAGDA secretariat was not aware that the JAGDA overview statement was going to be presented as the first item on the agenda at the meeting. So the statement was not an agenda item in the first place. When the board member ignored the scheduled proceedings, and acting on his own, started reading the document and proposed that it be included in the agenda, and went on to urge the audience ‘to give their assent’, pushing for approval, and the statement was indeed approved by majority vote, the office was left powerless; it could not respond to nor stop the irregular unscheduled developments that were taking place on the spot. At a later date when a third party pointed out the inappropriate method by which approval was obtained, they were forced to make a correction. The board’s intention was not to seek responsibility of the board member. Blame was attributed to another party. A correction came out, blaming another party, accompanied by an explanation hinting at a clerical mistake. The director of the secretariat apologized”.
The case cannot be brought to an end by a simple apology from the director of the JAGDA office. The crux of the matter, what should be truly contested is the inappropriate action and activities involving the document. The fact remains: a JAGDA document was created in accordance with the JAGDA board’s wish, though it remains unclear as to the process of how the document came to be. And out of the blue, the document was submitted as an agenda item, a rushed approval was obtained. Why did JAGDA resort to such forcible means to get the JAGDA document approved? Why didn’t they show the document to all members beforehand? Why were they forced to retract the approval that they had worked hard to obtain? In the first place, how did the document come to be? What was the development process? The board is held accountable for all these mysterious actions and methods taken. The board has a responsibility to give a full explanation to the members, as soon as possible, admit to their wrongdoing and inappropriate practice, and apologize. I believe that is what is called for.
Reading the “notice” which is a pack of fallacious arguments I was struck by a sense of, dare I say, pity, towards the persons who must be behind this all. Don’t they feel any qualms of conscience?
It began with the controversy regarding the Olympic Games logo. The ensuing series of inappropriate actions, cover-up operations, continued to take place in a nonchalant manner with blatant lies on offer. It is a world that is devoid of self-purification rituals. There is no pride, no trust, no truths and no beauty in this world. It is a world with no future. I vow to move on, toward a whole new world.
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.