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The Tokyo District Court on Tuesday sentenced two former professors to suspended 10-month prison terms for leaking questions in a state dentistry exam held last year.

Former Ohu University professor Kenji Kusunoki, and Itsuo Ueda, a former professor at the Health Sciences University of Hokkaido, had pleaded guilty to leaking questions for the March 2000 National Dentistry Examination, in violation of the Dental Practitioners Law.

Kusunoki, 54, said during the trial that he wanted to help his students pass the exam, while Ueda, 59, sought a suspended sentence, saying his acts were “passive and subordinate.”

Kusunoki obtained the exam questions from Ueda, who was an exam board member. He used that information to include 18 questions on oral hygiene in an Ohu University graduation exam held Feb. 17 and 18 last year and briefed his students on 11 of the questions during a lecture Feb. 29 that year, the court found.

Motoo Niwa, 56, a professor at Nippon Dental University and also a former exam board member, has pleaded not guilty in the case, denying that he conspired with Kusunoki and Ueda to leak the questions.

Ohu University, a private institute in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, was ranked lowest in the field in the 2000 exam results, after all 25 oral hygiene questions were replaced when the then Health and Welfare Ministry was tipped off about the leak.

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