Tokyo 2020 believes the image is "insensitive" ©FCCJ

Tokyo 2020 has slammed a magazine cover which merged the Olympic logo with the novel coronavirus, claiming it is "insensitive" and an infringement of its copyright.

The image appeared on the front of the April issue of Number 1 Shimbun, the magazine of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan (FCCJ).

It was created by Andrew Pothecary, a British designer based in Tokyo who is the magazine's art director.

"The emblem symbolises the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020," Games spokesman Masa Takaya said to insidethegames.

"It is very disappointing to see the emblem being distorted and deliberately associated with the coronavirus, which has caused enormous economic damage, social disruption and loss of human life. 

"The design is also clearly using the design of the Olympic emblem. 

"We therefore consider it an infringement on our legally secured copyright to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic emblem.

"This is also insensitive to the many people affected worldwide by this damaging and painful situation. 

Asao Tokolo's Tokyo 2020 logos were chosen in 2016 ©Getty Images
Asao Tokolo's Tokyo 2020 logos were chosen in 2016 ©Getty Images

"It is especially insensitive to the athletes around the world working to compete in the Games. 

"Such conduct is not in keeping with the FCCJ's high standards." 

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics to next year, while the virus has forced a state of emergency in Japan.

Tokyo 2020's blue "harmonised chequered emblems" for the Olympics and Paralympics were designed by Asao Tokolo.

His designs were chosen in 2016 after the original emblem created by Kenjiro Sano was axed following suggestions of plagiarism. 

It was withdrawn after Belgian Olivier Debie claimed that it resembled his Théâtre de Liège logo too closely.

insidethegames has contacted the FCCJ for a reaction.