Thirty-three women filed a damages suit Friday against Tokyo Medical University, claiming it rigged its entrance exams in favor of male candidates and deprived them of admission.

The plaintiffs, who took entrance examinations between 2006 and 2018, are seeking a combined ¥130 million in damages in the first lawsuit to be filed by a group of examinees since the scandal broke last year, their lawyers said.

"I was appalled to learn there was blatant score manipulation. If we keep silent without taking action, the issue will be buried," a plaintiff in her 20s told a news conference after the lawsuit was filed with the Tokyo District Court. The average age of the plaintiffs is 24.

The university declined to comment on the lawsuit because it had not seen the documentation yet.

Tokyo Medical University admitted last August it had been deducting points from exam scores since at least 2006 to curb female enrollment and enrollment by men who had failed the exam previously.

The unfair treatment of female applicants at the university was said to be aimed at preventing a shortage of doctors at affiliated hospitals in the belief that women tend to resign or take long periods of leave after getting married or giving birth.

Other instances of improper admissions processes were exposed following a subsequent government probe into the 81 universities in Japan with medical faculties.