A medical school has apologised for systematically altering entrance exam scores to limit the number of female students.
Tokyo Medical University manipulated all results starting in 2006 and maybe earlier, deducting points for women and increasing those of men, investigating lawyers concluded.
The university’s managing director and vice president bowed to the crowd as they apologised at a news conference in Tokyo yesterday.
The school will consider admitting people who should have passed the exams, adding the manipulation should not have occurred and would not in future.
Tetsuo Yukioka (L), Managing Director of Tokyo Medical University and Keisuke Miyazawa, Vice-President of Tokyo Medical University, bow as they attend a news conference in Tokyo
An investigation of the alleged wrongful admission of a bureaucrat’s son in exchange for favourable treatment in a ministry project exposed the manipulation. The bureaucrat and the school’s former head were charged with bribery.
The investigation found that last year the school reduced all applicants’ first-stage test scores by 20 per cent, then added on up to 20 points for males. Similar tampering had taken place for years.
It said the school wanted fewer female doctors because it anticipated they would shorten or halt their careers after becoming mothers.
Tokyo Medical University manipulated all results starting in 2006 – and possibly even earlier – systematically deducting entrance exam points for women and increasing those of men
Backtrack: Miyazawa, left, and Yukioka made a public apology for the school’s behaviour
The university’s managing director, Tetsuo Yukioka, said: ‘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.’
He denied previous knowledge of score manipulation and said he was never involved.
‘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,’ he said.
Mr Yukioka said women were not treated differently once they were accepted, but acknowledged that some people even believed women were not allowed to become surgeons.
Nearly 50 per cent of Japanese women are college educated — one of the world’s highest levels — but they often face discrimination in the workforce.
Women also are considered responsible for homemaking, childrearing and elderly care, while men are expected to work long hours and outside care services are limited.