Japanese Men's Basketball Team To Be In Olympics

Japanese men's basketball team to be in Olympics

For the first time in 44 years, Japan's national men's basketball team will compete in the Olympics. It will be joining the women's team to play in the 2020 Tokyo Games.

The International Basketball Federation, or FIBA, decided at a central board meeting in Cote d'Ivoire on Saturday that the teams will be granted the automatic places given to the host country.

FIBA initially did not guarantee a spot for the men's team for its lackluster international performance. Attention was on whether that decision would change due to some recent positive developments, including the team winning a spot in this summer's World Cup and the growing popularity of a Japanese domestic basketball league.

The last time the men's basketball team competed in the Olympics was in 1976 in Montreal. The women's team has competed in four Games since 1976, including the Rio de Janeiro games in 2016.

FIBA also granted the host country's automatic spots to Japan's men's and women's teams in a new basketball Olympic program, 3x3 basketball, with three players on each side. But Japan's basketball association says the International Olympic Committee needs to approve the decision because it is a new sport event.