Teen held in cell phone test cheating

Prep school student passed at least one entrance exam

KYOTO (Kyodo) A preparatory school student was arrested Thursday in Sendai for allegedly posting university entrance questions on the Internet via a mobile phone while the tests were in progress.

The 19-year-old, whose name is being withheld because he is a minor, was quoted as telling investigators: “I wanted to pass the exams. I acted alone.”

The youth, who faces a technical charge of obstructing the university exam process, was found near JR Sendai Station shortly before noon after he failed to return home. His family had submitted a missing person’s report.

Later in the day, investigators had the youth flown from Sendai to Itami airport in Osaka Prefecture. He was then taken to Kyoto, where he is expected to be interrogated Friday.

His mother was the subscriber of the cell phone, and records show he took the exams at the four universities, including Kyoto University, successfully gaining admission to at least one of them, investigative sources said.

An official at his university preparatory school in Sendai said it has received a request from the Kyoto police for cooperation in their investigation.

The police allege that the student, who graduated from a public high school in Yamagata Prefecture, used the mobile phone to post questions, thereby obstructing the universities by fraudulent means from properly conducting their entrance exams, the sources said.

Some of the student’s answers in the exams were almost exactly the same as the responses to his posts from other Internet users on a question-and-answer website, investigative and university sources said. The police are looking into the connection between the posts and his exam results, and whether other people were involved.

A university that has given passing scores needs to take necessary procedures to reject the student after fraudulent actions are confirmed, and the police see this as a factor in building a criminal case, the sources said.

An Internet user with the online name “aicezuki” sought answers on Yahoo Japan’s Chiebukuro question-and-answer website for questions from the entrance exams for Kyoto, Doshisha, Waseda and Rikkyo universities from Feb. 8 to 26 using the same mobile phone.

Investigative sources said Thursday the youth passed at least one of the four entrance exams, without saying which one. It wasn’t immediately clear if he will be admitted to the university or if his passage will be nullified.

More investigation is necessary to determine whether the alleged cheating had any effects on his test performance, the sources said.

The suspected cheating has raised concern over how highly sophisticated digital devices can be misused.

Hair study probe

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Nagoya City University has launched a probe into the alleged falsification of academic papers by its professors concerning hair-growth studies, sources said Thursday.

A 57-year-old professor at the school’s Graduate School of Medicine and his assistant professor, 43, are believed involved in the falsification.

According to the sources, the two, who have not been named, are suspected of digitally altering photos of human cells in their studies on amino acid since 1997, the sources said. They are also suspected of plagiarizing the findings of related research papers.

The professor has received about ¥24.5 million to date in subsidies from a body linked to the education ministry to sustain his research.