Photo/IllutrationMasaaki Okawa, left, vice chairman of the Japan Basketball Association, shows his delight along with two women in Tokyo on March 31 after the Japanese men’s and women’s national teams were granted automatic berths at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The two women are Yuko Oga, center, who is serving as an ambassador for the association, and national team member Maki Takada. (Saki Rin)

For the first time in 44 years, the Japanese men's national basketball team is headed to the Olympics, and this time, will have the home-court advantage.

The International Basketball Federation, commonly known as FIBA, decided on March 30 to grant the team an automatic berth at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as the host nation.

The decision was made in a meeting of FIBA’s Central Board, which was held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Factors leading to the FIBA's decision included the strong progress the Japanese men's team has made in improving its squad, which qualified to compete in the World Cup in China in August and September.

The last time the Japanese men’s team competed in an Olympics was in 1976 in Montreal.

The FIBA does not allow a host country’s participation in an Olympics unconditionally.

The Central Board discusses whether to allow the host country an automatic berth before each Olympics by assessing several items, including its ability and how widely the sport has spread in the country.

The FIBA also granted the Japanese women’s basketball team an automatic berth at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.