• Kyodo


Kanazawa University mistakenly rejected six applicants who passed its 1997 and 1998 entrance exams due to computer errors, university officials said Monday.

Top officials of Kanazawa University bow in apology upon revealing that applicants were wrongly rejected in 1997 and 1998.

The state-run university in Ishikawa Prefecture rejected the six based on the results of the exams in physics and chemistry, according to the officials.

The revelation comes on the heels of similar errors in the entrance examination tallying process at two other state-run universities — Yamagata University and Toyama University.

According to the education ministry, those who were rejected by Kanazawa University in 1997 were three applicants for the physics department and two for the chemistry department. In 1998, one applicant for the university’s physics department was mistakenly rejected.

Although results from nationwide university entrance exams for physics and chemistry were to have been added together to determine the applicant’s final score, the university’s computer program only picked up the test with the higher score and doubled it, thereby giving an inaccurate ranking of test results. This was in line with the way test scores were calculated up to the previous year’s entrance exams, officials said.

“I express my deep apologies to the applicants and their parents. This is a mistake that should not have happened,” Kanazawa University President Yujiro Hayashi told a news conference, saying the error stemmed from “excessive trust in electronic processing.”

He added that the university would take special steps to correct the situation, such as offering the rejected applicants an opportunity to enter the university. Two of the six have already been accepted after being placed on a waiting list.

University officials did not divulge more specific information on the six, citing privacy reasons.

“As a result of the error, personal lives have been greatly affected, and there is no room for excuse. I feel great responsibility for having tarnished the public’s trust in universities,” Hayashi said.

Last month, Yamagata University was found to have mistakenly told 428 engineering applicants between 1997 and 2001 that they failed entrance exams although they had actually passed. The mistake was also caused by computer errors.

Toyama University admitted last week that it covered up computer errors in marking 1997 and 1998 entrance exams, causing the rejection of 16 otherwise passing applicants.

Kanazawa University officials said the mistake came to light after the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry ordered all state-run universities Saturday to check their computer programs for any errors.

When the possibility of error emerged Saturday afternoon, more staffers were assigned to check the scores, and the next morning, it was confirmed that some applicants had been wrongly rejected, officials said.

They said they had been unable to spot the error since the university had installed new computers in 1999 and began using new programs, and denied any intent to hide the error. Officials said that the computer program was checked four times prior to the exams in question using marks from the previous year’s applicants.

However, they did not check results with those tallied manually.

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