• Kyodo


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Tokyo Medical University deducted points from the entrance exam scores of all female applicants to keep the ratio of women studying at the university at about 30 percent, sources familiar with the matter said on Aug. 2.

The practice likely began around 2010 and was apparently aimed at avoiding a shortage of doctors at affiliated hospitals. The medical college believed female doctors often resign or take long leave after getting married or giving birth, leading to a shortfall, according to the sources. The university deducted 10 to 20 percent of the points scored by female applicants, the sources said.

An education ministry official in charge of entrance exams said the government has asked higher-education institutions to detail how they select students in their guidance to applicants. “If the university did not disclose the process and has been discriminating against applicants based on gender, that would be a problem,” the official said.

Tokyo Medical University’s entrance process consists of two stages. The first sees applicants take a multiple-choice exam, and those who progress undergo further assessment by writing an essay and attending interviews. The college deducted the female applicants’ points after the first stage to reduce the number who would advance to the next phase. The practice wasn’t explained to applicants, sources said.

Of the 1,596 men and 1,018 women who applied to the university in the 2018 academic year starting in April, 19 percent of the male applicants, or 303, passed the first stage, compared to 14.5 percent of female applicants, or 148. A total of 141 men and 30 women passed the second stage, bringing the overall pass rates by gender to 8.8 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively.

The education ministry asked the university on July 25 to report on its applicant selection process and whether it has adhered to it.

First published in The Japan Times on Aug. 3.

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Collect words related to doctors, e.g., hospital, medical, sickness.

New words

1) deduct: to take away something from a total, e.g., “Tax is deducted from your pay.”

2) adhere: stick to something, e.g., “Please adhere to the rules.”

Guess the headline

Tokyo Medical University discriminated against female a_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _s by lowering entrance e_ _ _ scores


1) What did the college do to its exam scores?

2) Why did the university try to control the gender ratio of its students?

3) What percentage of male and female applicants passed the college’s entrance exam?

Let’s discuss the article

1) What do you think about this issue?

2) Do you think gender difference should be a factor when accepting students?

3) What should be done to fix the system?




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