Police have asked Yahoo Japan Corp. to provide data to identify who sought answers on its portal site for college entrance examinations while admissions tests were under way, investigative sources said Tuesday.
It was also reported that at least one apparent cheat may have made frequent trips to the toilet to glean answers from a cell phone.
Tokyo and Kyoto police investigators will ask Kyoto, Doshisha, Waseda and Rikkyo universities to try to determine if test-takers copied the answers posted on the Yahoo site in response to the questions. The police are looking to establish a case of obstructing college business.
Yahoo Japan, operator of the “chiebukuro” (pearls of wisdom) question-and-answer site, declined comment because of the police investigation.
The police will check communications data, including Internet protocol addresses, to identify those involved, apparently via mobile phones, and will seek court-issued warrants to search and seize evidence if necessary, the sources said.
Kansei Nakano, chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, told reporters Tuesday the cheating may constitute an obstruction of business under the Penal Code.
“This reflects the present time,” Nakano said. “It is a very grave problem and should not have happened.”
Education minister Yoshiaki Takaki, at a separate news conference, asked universities to take greater care in how they conduct admissions tests.
The education ministry will set up a study panel to consider measures to prevent cheating in college entrance exams, ministry sources said.
The envisioned panel would include university officials and information technology experts and would discuss such steps as increasing exam monitors and improving test patrols starting next year, the sources said.
An Internet user with the online name “aicezuki” sought answers on the Yahoo Japan site for Kyoto University entrance exam questions while the test was under way Friday and Saturday.
A user with the same name also posted questions apparently linked to the entrance exams for Doshisha, Rikkyo and Waseda universities in February.
Kyodo News has found that Google’s online translation service could have been used to generate part of the Japanese-English translations posted on a Yahoo Japan page as answers to Kyoto University test questions while the exams were in progress.
It has also been found that comments were posted on the microblogging site Twitter about the incident, and the user with the online name “aicezuki” had an account on the Japanese social networking site Mixi.
The online profiles of both the Twitter user and Mixi user are similar and have the name of an 18-year-old male high school student in Tokyo.
One of the Twitter posts reads: “Examiners at Kyoto University weren’t looking, and I had the liberty of cheating during the exams. Though there were other test-takers around, it was easy to cheat, at least in the lavatory.”
Kyoto University has asked its exam monitors if they noticed any test-takers making frequent trips to the lavatory, university sources said. The cheater may have left the exam room a number of times to check the online site, where answers to the test questions were posted periodically, they said.
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