Police have tracked down a 19-year-old male high school graduate in the Tohoku region who may have been involved in seeking answers online for questions from entrance examinations held in February at four prominent universities while the tests were in progress, investigative sources said Wednesday.
Police have already established that the same mobile phone was used during the four separate exams at Kyoto and Doshisha universities in Kyoto, and Waseda and Rikkyo universities in Tokyo, the sources said.
The police plan to interview the youth, who took the exams this year on his second chance to enter a college after graduating from a high school in Yamagata Prefecture last March, on a voluntary basis, the sources said.
Currently, the youth goes to a prep school in Sendai, they said. The person who has a contract with NTT DoCoMo Inc. for the cell phone in question is believed his mother.
No further details were available except that the contractor’s address is in Tohoku.
While the focus of the investigation has become the person in Tohoku, investigators are checking the phone’s communications data provided by the major carrier, eyeing the possibility that more than one person was involved in the incident.
The Kyoto and Tokyo prefectural police have launched an investigation with an eye on establishing a case of obstruction of the universities’ business.
Investigative authorities also plan to ask the four universities to submit lists of people who took admission tests to see if anyone took all of the exams in question.
Their exams were taken by a combined total of about 30,000 people.
An Internet user going by the online name of “aicezuki” sought answers on Yahoo Japan Corp.’s “chiebukuro” (pearls of wisdom) website for questions from entrance exams at Kyoto, Doshisha, Waseda and Rikkyo universities from Feb. 8 to 26.
Icons indicating the questions were posted via mobile phone appear on the posts.
The police located the Internet Protocol address of the user who posted the questions under the name “aicezuki” and found a DoCoMo mobile phone was used after linking the IP address to the handset number, the sources said.
Investigators suspect the questions were posted online from the test rooms and are examining if any of the test-takers appeared to have copied the answers provided by third parties on the Yahoo site on the answer sheets.
Many public universities are considering tightening measures against cheating during their entrance exams, which will continue through mid-March, a Kyodo survey showed Wednesday.
Many said they are wondering how best to deal with clever cheats employing high-tech devices, the survey said.
Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, for example, is considering instructing each applicant to put any cell phone in an envelope and place it on the desk, according to the survey.
Ochanomizu University in Tokyo and the University of Kitakyushu in Fukuoka plan to keep tabs on people who take bathroom breaks during exams, the survey said.
So far, most public universities have instructed test-takers to turn off their cell phones and put them in bags during exams. But Hokkaido University and Ryukyu University in Okinawa both said it would be difficult to impose a total ban on cell phones at exam venues.
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