The University of Tokyo’s graduate schools have allowed five graduates of American universities’ Japanese campuses to take entrance exams since 1991, even though this runs counter to Education Ministry policy, it was learned Wednesday.

Four students from Temple University Japan in Minato Ward, Tokyo, and one from another American university in Japan took the exams but failed to be accepted.

The Education Ministry does not recognize foreign universities in Japan as colleges under the School Education Law, and thus they are considered professional or vocational schools.

The University of Tokyo, Japan’s top national university, confirmed that the five students in question had scholastic abilities equal or superior to graduates of Japanese universities, and that the educational requirements of the Japanese campuses were equal to those of their main campuses in the U.S.

The University of Tokyo is the first national university to open its doors to graduates of schools not recognized by the ministry. This may encourage students at Korean schools in Japan to take entrance exams at national universities. “Japanese campuses of foreign universities are not qualified as Japanese universities under the School Education Law, and their graduates are not permitted to try for graduate studies at national universities. We will ask schools to be strict on this,” Education Ministry officials said in a statement.

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