National / Social Issues

Tokyo 2020 organizers ask Saitama golf venue to ax gender restrictions

Kyodo

The Tokyo Olympic organizing committee has formally asked Kasumigaseki Golf Club, the venue for the 2020 golfing events, to reform its membership policies to accept women.

Toshiro Muto, chief executive officer of the organizing committee, revealed on Thursday that he sent a letter to the club in neighboring Saitama Prefecture asking it to change its regulations, which state that women are not allowed to become regular members or use the course on Sundays.

The sex-specific rules have drawn fire from Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike.

The letter was sent in the names of the organizing committee, the Japanese Olympic Committee, the International Golf Federation and the Japan Golf Association.

“All four of these bodies are gravely concerned,” Muto said. “We want them to change their rules to allow women as regular members as soon as possible.”

The letter addressed to Kiichi Kimura, chairman of the club’s board of directors, also said: “We understand that yours is a private club, but in order to make the Olympics a success, it is necessary to change membership rules as soon as possible in accordance with the Olympic Charter.”

The club has acknowledged receiving the request and said it will convene a board meeting on Tuesday. All 15 members of the board are needed to approve a change to the bylaws.

The International Olympic Committee has asked the Tokyo organizing committee to come up with a solution that will allow men and women to use the club on equal terms, citing its current membership rules as a violation of the Olympic spirit.

Coronavirus banner