Five Chinese including the head of a Tokyo cram school for Chinese-speaking students have been arrested for secretly taking photos of university entrance exams, investigative sources said Friday.
Ding Bin, the 36-year-old president of MK Education & Technology Co., and four compatriots including its employees, are suspected of conspiring to obstruct the business of the Japan Student Services Organization, a government-linked organization that administers the national standardized test.
One of the five allegedly took the test in Tokyo under a fake name and used camera-equipped glasses to take pictures of the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students on June 16.
The exam, held twice a year, evaluates Japanese proficiency and the basic academic abilities of international students who wish to pursue undergraduate studies at universities or other institutions of higher learning in Japan.
Because the most recent examples of the exam aren’t publicly available, the group was apparently attempting to build a larger database of questions to give the school a competitive advantage, the sources said.
Ding told investigators he had wanted to attract more students to his school, named Every Moment of Education, to stabilize the business.
He and the four others — three men and a woman — allegedly carried out different tasks ranging from buying the cameras, taking the exams, receiving the data and re-creating the exam, the sources said.
Some 31,000 people took the exam this June, and more than 60 percent of the examinees in Japan were Chinese nationals, according to the administrator.
Cameras concealed in eyewear, watches, pens and other commonly used items are widely sold online and at shops in Japan relatively cheaply under the auspices of crime-prevention. This has prompted experts to call for regulation to prevent them from being used in nefarious activities.
Hidden cameras have been used for illegal purposes nationwide.
In Obihiro, Hokkaido, last month, a man was served an arrest warrant for allegedly filming a young girl changing clothes at a nursery school. In Nagoya in March, a man was nabbed for allegedly placing a pen-shaped camera in a bathroom.
Yusaku Fujii, a Gunma University professor with expertise in security cameras, said prices for such cameras have fallen and their performance has advanced “at a remarkable speed.”
“As they are hard to detect, we should tighten control by introducing a registration system for (cameras)” that can be used in a harmful manner, Fujii said.