Cheating professor avoids prison

A former examiner of the National Dentistry Examination, found guilty of leaking test questions, was given a one-year prison sentence Wednesday, suspended for three years.

Motoo Niwa, 58, was charged with leaking 18 questions in the two-day national dental exam beginning March 15, 2000, by conspiring with two others to have the questions included in a graduation exam of the dentistry department of private Ohu University in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, in February 2000.

Niwa is a professor at Nippon Dental University in Tokyo.

Presiding Judge Naoto Otani of the Tokyo District Court said Niwa “has damaged the significance of the national examination system by easily accepting the request to leak the exam questions, despite his obligation to maintain secrecy.”

Prosecutors had demanded a one-year prison term, but Otani said the suspended sentence was appropriate as the leakage was discovered before the national exam was held and the questions were replaced.

Niwa pleaded not guilty to the charges, claiming he had not violated any law and was merely exchanging information on question themes with other examiners.