Japan med school confirms altering scores to limit women

Tetsuo Yukioka managing director of Tokyo Medical University

Tokyo Medical University admitted Tuesday that it had routinely tampered with entrance exam scores to limit the enrollment of female students and male students who had failed the exam a number of times before.

The medical college reportedly believe that female doctors are more likely to resign or take extended leaves of absence after marrying and giving birth and wanted to keep its ratio of women studying at the university at around 30 percent, with only specific applicants allowed to pass its entrance exam.

"We betrayed the public trust".

Tetsuo Yukioka (C), Managing Director of Tokyo Medical University and Keisuke Miyazawa (L), Vice-President of Tokyo Medical University, leave after a news conference in Tokyo, Japan August 7, 2018. Sign-up now and enjoy one (1) week free access!

At a news conference, senior school officials bowed and apologised, pledging to "sincerely" consider their response, such as possible compensation.

The sexist practice was uncovered during another investigation on the same university's ethics, as it is also accused of favoring the son of an influential member of the Ministry of Education by admitting him to the school without the required grades, according to the Japanese paper.

The lawyers also said that the university's former Chairman Masahiko Usui, 77, and former President Mamoru Suzuki, 69, had received money from the parents of applicants whose entrance exam scores had been padded.

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The education ministry official's son, who had failed the exam three times, was given 20 additional points, elevating his score above the cutoff line.

The school said the manipulation should not have occurred and would not in the future.

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.

"Factors suggesting very serious discrimination against women was also part of it", added Nakai, one of the external lawyers hired by the university to investigate the incident.

The lawyers said they did not know how many women had been affected. 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.

Entrance exam discrimination against women was "absolutely unacceptable", Education Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters last week, however.

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