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The number of candidates who passed the tough level-1 civil service exam rose to 1,750 in fiscal 2003, an increase of 135 from a year earlier, the National Personnel Authority said Friday.

The number of successful candidates from private universities and women both hit record levels.

Passing the level-1 exam is generally required for appointment to career civil service positions, which eventually lead to senior administrative posts in the bureaucracy.

The personnel authority said 1,750 candidates — 405 from private universities and 264 women — passed the exam this fiscal year, an increase of 8.4 percent. The competition ratio was 1 to 18.2.

Apart from a larger number of successful private university and female candidates, the authority said the fiscal 2003 exam was marked by a higher percentage of successful candidates from universities in the Kinki region, including Osaka University, Ritsumeikan University and Doshisha University.

Of those who passed this year’s level-1 exam, about 680 will be hired by various government ministries and agencies.

As in past years, national universities accounted for the bulk of the successful candidates, with the University of Tokyo — the traditional training ground for bureaucrats — at the top of the ladder.

The University of Tokyo accounted for 488 successful applicants, more than all of the private universities put together. Kyoto University came next with 200.

The nation’s top two private universities also fared well; Waseda accounted for 118 successful candidates while Keio provided 82.

Other universities among the top eight were Tohoku University with 75 successful applicants, Kyushu University with 63, Hokkaido University with 57 and the Tokyo Institute of Technology with 50.

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