Tokyo 2020 organizers unveil bug-eyed Olympic mascot hopefuls

Children will choose from the three pairs of mascot designs shortlisted for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, which were unveiled on December 7 at Kakezuka elementary school in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward.

It is the first time in the history of the Olympic Games that a mascot will be chosen by elementary school children.

Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics on Wednesday unveiled three sets of designs for the Games' mascots. Each proposal is a set of two characters - one for the Olympic games and the other for the Paralympics. The elementary school classes' decision will be announced on February 28, 2018.

"I am really excited that we are getting closer to unveiling our official mascots", said Ryohei Miyata, the Chair of the Tokyo 2020 Mascot Selection Panel.

Proposal A is a pair of characters with an iichimatsu moyo checkered pattern.

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The Candidate B Olympic mascot is inspired by a "maneki-neko" beckoning cat and a fox, while the Paralympic mascot is created in the style of a "komainu" guard lion-dog. The third set features a fox and a dog with gold ribbons on their back.

BC-OLY-Tokyo 2020-Mascots, 138 Mascot designs for 2020 Tokyo Olympics shortlistedAP Photo XEH103, XEH101, XEH102Eds: APNewsNow.

TV personality Shoko Nakagawa, another member of the screening committee, called the student vote "historic" given that mascots were not used in 1964. Worldwide schools in Japan, as well as Japanese schools overseas, will be included in the voting process. They were being narrowed down to three designs after being reviewed by a panel of experts and the final victor will be announced on February 28 next year.

The mascots' names will be chosen based on feedback from creative professionals and will be announced next summer.

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