Tokyo 2020 unveils Olympic mascot hopefuls

Tokyo 2020 mascot designs shortlisted for children's vote

Final selections for Tokyo 2020 mascot design to face student vote for first time ever

The Japanese Olympic Committee unveiled the three finalists for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics mascot designs, while elementary school children across Japan will be the decision makers.

For the first time in the history of the games, the mascots are to be decided by election with each elementary school class in the nation having one vote to cast. The elementary school classes' decision will be announced on February 28, 2018.

"All of these designs contain deep-rooted cultural and innovative motifs", said Yoshiko Ikoma, deputy head of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics mascot selection panel.

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

The second set features an Olympic character based on Japan's lucky cat and inari fox - which also symbolizes luck - and a Paralympic character resembling a guardian dog often seen at shinto shrines. The third set features a fox and a dog with gold ribbons on their backs.

As the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, get ready to kick off in February, officials are already looking ahead to the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.

▼ Olympics mascots on top row, Paralympics mascots below.

"We hope that many schools and classes will take this opportunity to help shape the Games", he added. The members include TV personality Shoko Nakagawa. The victor will be announced on February 28, shortly after the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games.

Some 110 fourth- and fifth-year students at Kakezuka Elementary School participated in the December 7 event held by the organizing committee. Worldwide schools in Japan, as well as Japanese schools overseas, will be included in the voting process.

After being named by experts, the mascots will be officially announced from July to August.

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