Professor leaked bar exam questions to student he was ‘fond of’

Kyodo

A Meiji University law school professor suspected of leaking questions from this year’s national bar examination to a former student said he did so because he was “fond of” her, sources close to the matter said.

“I was fond of the female exam-taker, who was my student, and I wanted her to pass the test,” Koichi Aoyagi, 67, was quoted as saying during an investigation by the Justice Ministry.

Because Aoyagi did not receive any money from the woman, who is in her 20s, prosecutors who are investigating the case as a violation of the confidentiality provision in the national civil service law, suspect that he leaked the questions without being asked to do so.

The two earlier admitted to the allegation during questioning by the ministry.

According to the sources, Aoyagi was in charge of devising questions on the Constitution for this year’s exam in May and offered the woman tutorials four or five times before the exam.

The woman outperformed the other applicants in her essay in the Constitution section of the test, raising suspicions she acquired a sample answer through her tutorial sessions with the professor.

She also aced the computer-graded part of the test that addressed the same subject, which Aoyagi helped compile.

A total of 8,016 people took the bar exam.

The case came to light after experts grading the essay portions between June and August determined that the woman could not have formulated her high-quality answers without inside information.

The ministry thus decided to annul her score.

Aoyagi, a constitutional scholar who has written a number of books and papers, has been involved in formulating questions for the national bar exam since 2002. Those chosen for the task are appointed by the justice minister based on the recommendations of an advisory panel and have a legal obligation to keep secrets as part-time public servants.

The advisory panel filed a criminal complaint against Aoyagi on Tuesday for allegedly breaching his confidentiality obligations. For this year’s exam, 13 members helped prepare questions about the Constitution, including Aoyagi.

Aoyagi was also in a position to grade the answers and thus able to view the questions posed by the other members, according to the sources.