National

Third Japan medical school suspected of having discriminated against applicants: sources

Kyodo, Staff Report

Juntendo University is suspected of having discriminated against female applicants to its medical school, sources said Monday, in the latest in a series of similar revelations about the manipulation of entrance exams at universities in Japan.

The Tokyo-based private university possibly curbed female enrollment at its medical school by assessing their scores against higher passing thresholds, the sources said. The education ministry has asked for an explanation from the university.

The ministry surveyed 81 universities across the nation in August after similar manipulation was reported at Tokyo Medical University.

In the survey, Juntendo University was found to have had the largest gender gap in its acceptance rate for the past six years. The rate of successful male applicants to successful female applicants stood at 1.67 for that period.

Applicants for the university take academic exams first, and those who pass then write an essay and sit for interviews.

In the most recent entrance exam this spring, 2,372 men and 1,779 women took the exam for Juntendo University with 239 men and 93 women passing, the ministry said.

Following the ministry’s August survey, the university set up an independent committee to investigate the matter. An official at the university denied it had discriminated against women or applicants who had previously failed its entrance exams.

But the official also said a private university has “discretion” in entrance exams, which it and the ministry interpret differently.

The suspicion regarding Juntendo University comes on the heels of a disclosure of misconduct last week by Tokyo-based Showa University, which admitted to improper admissions practices at its medical school, also since six years ago. But the university denied any discrimination based on gender or age.

One of the practices there involved awarding additional points to high school students, or those who had graduated from high school a year earlier, in the second round of entrance examinations when assessing applicants to the Tokyo-based private university’s School of Medicine.

The other practice involved giving preferential treatment to children or close relatives of graduates from among reserve applicants when considering their outcomes based on second-term exams, they said.