There are instances of slight copyright infringement, and then there are cases like this.
As the Mainichi Daily News details, The costume of the mascot Ekoha, whose name comes from the word “eco” or ecology, was first unveiled by an organization of recycling-business owners during an ecology-related event in October last year. The city subsequently took over the mascot and its copyright.
Judging by that picture up above, it’s more than just a “similarity”. It’s a blatant rip-off of the classic (and VERY profitable) Pikachu image.
After this became news on the Internet, the city decided to discontinue the mascot, but it will continue to use the original illustration (which also strongly resembles Pikachu). For more on that, view this article from the Mainichi’s Japanese article.
For even more, including all the offending images, view this Escapist article.