International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice-president John Coates has welcomed the decision of the Kasumigaseki Country Club, which will be used to host golf competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, to change its rules to make women eligible for full membership.
The club voted to permanently change its membership policy yesterday at an extraordinary meeting of its Executive Board.
Fierce criticism had been pointed towards the private club, which did not allow women to become full members and also limited the days they can play there.
It led to calls for the venue in Saitama prefecture, about 30 kilometres north of central Tokyo, to be switched to an alternative location such as the Wakasu Golf Links.
Coates, the chair of the Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission, warned the club last month to change its policy or organisers would be forced to find another venue.
The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee also wrote to the club's Board of Directors, urging them to make changes as it does not sit in line with the Olympic Charter.
"As we have said all along, gender equality is a fundamental principle of the Olympic Movement and an important part of Olympic Agenda 2020, and we believe this decision now reflects this," said Coates, who is also President of the Australian Olympic Committee.
"While we had made our position on non-discrimination clear as soon as we became aware of their rules, it was important that the members of the club be given the opportunity to make the change in their good time.
"It is their club and at the end of the day we had to be welcomed by them."
Tokyo 2020 President Yoshirō Mori thanked Coates for his contribution to achieving the outcome, and also praised IOC executive director for the Olympic Games Christophe Dubi and IOC sports director Kit McConnell.
"Mr Coates, I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to you, Mr Dubi and Mr McConnell for your enormous contribution on this crucial matter," he said.
"Together with the IOC, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee looks forward to working even closer with the club, the IGF (International Golf Federation), the JGA (Japan Golf Association) and the JOC (Japanese Olympic Committee) to make thorough preparations towards the golf competition at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020."
Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist Lydia Ko of New Zealand had been among the top names to speak out against the rules at the Tokyo 2020 golf course.
Yuriko Koike, the Governor of Tokyo, was critical of the rules as well.
Club members were due to take a vote last month on whether they would change current regulations, but a Board meeting postponed a decision on the matter.
Last week, Muirfield golf course in Scotland voted in in favour of admitting female members for the first time, with 498 people out of 621 backing the change.
The Royal and Ancient (R&A), who organise The Open Championship, had axed Muirfield from their list of venues after members at the club decided to uphold their rules on not allowing women to join.
After a 112-year Olympic hiatus, golf returned to the Games at Rio 2016 and will make its fourth appearance on the sports programme in Tokyo.