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IOC calling on 2020 Olympic golf venue to end men-only membership rule

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is calling on the host country club for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic golf competition to drop its men-only full membership policy, it has been learned.

Japan Golf Association (JGA) Vice-President Keiji Nagata apparently learned of the IOC's view via the International Golf Federation (IGF) on or before Jan. 20, and passed it on to the private Kasumigaseki Country Club in Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture, and the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

According to the club's articles of incorporation, it has about 1,270 full members, all men. Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike told reporters on Jan. 13, "I feel very uncomfortable about women not being able to become a regular member in this era."

Nagata stated that he was told by the IGF that "the IOC has seen the coverage (of the club's men-only full member policy), and said that it hoped the club would adopt democratic practices appropriate to an Olympic venue. Furthermore, the IGF wanted me to provide guidance for the club's internal discussions and move toward a solution." However, "the IGF understands that the club is not managed such that non-regular members are excluded from playing" on the course.

Kasumigaseki Country Club general manager Hiroshi Imaizumi commented, "I haven't heard whether the (IOC's opinion) will be brought up in internal club discussions on the issue."

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