Medical school admits manipulating exam results to keep out women

Japan medical university cut women's test scores

One of Japan's most prestigious medical training schools has admitted marking down female applicants' entrance exams to maintain a majority of men in each year.

This year, the ratio of women accepted into Tokyo Medical University after the first round of tests was 14.5%, compared with 18.9% for men. However, they said they had been unaware of the manipulation.

The report on the school's applications process also found that officials boosted the scores of some applicants who were children of the university's graduates so the institution could garner donations from the parents.

The scandal had emerged as investigators looked into claims that the son of an education ministry bureaucrat was elevated on points to just above entry level - despite failing the exam three times.

In July, Usui and Suzuki stepped down as the chairman and president of the university, respectively, after they were alleged to have bribed Sano in the form of guaranteeing his son's enrollment in exchange for a government subsidy.

The school wanted fewer female doctors because it anticipated they would become mothers and would shorten or halt their careers.

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.

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

Nakai said the report only covered the latest exam results because of time constraints, and that further investigation was needed. We want to sincerely apologise for this", Tokyo Medical University managing director Tetsuo Yukioka told reporters as he bowed deeply.

Mr Yukioka, who denied any prior knowledge of wrongdoing, added: "I suspect that there was a lack of sensitivity to the rules of modern society, in which women should not be treated differently due to their gender".

They also concluded that scores were manipulated to give men more points than women and thus hold down the number of women admitted.

The university's admission of discriminatory practices has drawn a harsh backlash from the medical community in Japan including representatives from the the Japan Joint Association of Medical Professional Women and the Japan Medical Women's Association.

Yoshimasa Hayashi, Japan's education minister, said that he will launch an immediate probe into all universities in Japan with a medical department to ensure such examination score tampering is not occurring.

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