A prominent medical school in Japan on Tuesday admitted to having changed medical scores for years to limit the number of female students. The Tokyo Medical University issued an apology after the results of an internal investigation confirmed the practice, the aim of which was to ensure that more men became doctors, The Guardian reported.
The school manipulated exam results from 2006, revealed findings released by lawyers involved in the case. The institution admitted that it should not have manipulated the results and said this would not occur again. The school added that it would consider retroactive admissions for those who had failed to get in because of the manipulations.
“We sincerely apologise for the serious wrongdoing involving entrance exams that has caused concern and trouble for many people and betrayed the public’s trust,” said Tetsuo Yukioka, the school’s managing director. “I suspect that there was a lack of sensitivity to the rules of modern society, in which women should not be treated differently because of their gender.”
Education Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said his department would conduct an emergency survey, which will scrutinise the entrance procedures of all medical schools in the country, reported Kyodo News. Keisuke Miyazawa, the school’s acting president, said he would discuss with the government the possibility of accepting rejected applicants if they are identified.
The Japanese media first reported the matter on August 2, claiming the results were manipulated as the school wanted fewer women doctors as motherhood would either shorten women’s careers or end it. This year the school decreased the first-stage test scores of all applicants by 20% and added at least 20 points to the score of male applicants, reported Japan Today. Male candidates who failed the test four times were not extended this favour.
Due to paucity of time, the report only looked at this year’s exam results, said lawyer Kenji Nakai, adding that further investigation would be required.
The tampering came to light after the “backdoor entry” of a bureaucrat’s son in exchange for school receiving favourable treatment, Japan Today reported. The student, who has failed the entrance examination three times, was given 20 extra points to allow him to gain admission. The bureaucrat and the former chief of the school have now been accused of bribery.
Around 50% of women in Japan have college degrees, one of the highest levels in the world, but they are often discriminated against at workplaces, Japan Today reported. Studies have shown that the percentage of female doctors passing the national medical exam has stagnated at 30% in the last two decades.