Medical School Tampered Test Scores To Keep Women Out

Tetsuo Yukioka managing director of Tokyo Medical University

"We betrayed the public's trust".

The scandal was uncovered by investigators looking into claims the university padded the scores of an education ministry bureaucrat's son to help him gain admission, and local media said other instances had been discovered where individual entrance test scores were revised upwards, suggesting favouritism.

The sources also said that there were examination invigilators at the university that used a specific manual to guide the process of manipulating students' points to control the enrollment process.

The lawyers said they did not know how many women had been affected, but it appeared that women's test scores had been affected going back at least a decade.

The investigative report said the manipulation was "profound sexism", according to lawyer Kenji Nakai.

Almost 50 per cent of Japanese women are college educated - one of the world's highest levels - but they often face discrimination in the workforce and are considered responsible for homemaking, childrearing and elderly care, while men are expected to work long hours and outside care services are limited.

The lawyers also attested that all entrance examination scores for women were deducted, as ordered by Usui and with the knowledge of Suzuki and another senior official at another renown university, to prevent a shortage of doctors at the university's affiliated hospitals.


According to the sources, points ranging from 10 to dozens were added to the scores of six examinees this year after the first test, which had a maximum score of 400 points. Those of all women, and men who had failed the test at least three times, were not, however.

Medical school authorities have called a news conference for 5pm. Kyoko Tanebe, an obstetrician and a director of the Japan Joint Association of Medical Professional Women, pointed to doctors' workstyle presupposing "selfless devotion" and long working hours as sources of the problem.

In the second and final test stage, just 2.9 percent of female applicants were admitted, compared with 8.8 percent of male applicants.

Women's empowerment minister Seiko Noda told Japan's NHK public broadcaster the exam points manipulation had been "extremely disturbing".

The deduction of marks, which began in 2006 or earlier, "is nothing but discrimination against women", said one of lawyers at a separate press conference earlier in the day as they disclosed the results of their internal investigation on backdoor admissions to the university.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made "womenomics" - or boosting women's participation in the workplace and promoting women to senior positions - a priority, but the pace of progress has been slow.

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