Japan will carry out plans to introduce descriptive questions for Japanese and mathematics subjects under a new unified university entrance examination system starting in fiscal 2020, education minister Koichi Hagiuda said.

“We will work to create a good exam that is easy to score,” Hagiuda told a meeting of the Upper House Budget Committee on Friday.

Hagiuda made the remarks in response to an opposition call for canceling the introduction of such questions due to the difficulty of ensuring fairness in scoring.

As many as 500,000 people will be taking exams under the new system.

The state-affiliated National Center for University Entrance Examination, the administrator of the new system, plans to outsource the scoring of descriptive questions to the private sector. Part-timers are expected to be involved in the scoring.

At the Upper House meeting, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe apologized for confusion caused by the government’s decision to postpone the introduction of private-sector English tests for the new university entrance exam.

Abe also repeated his apology for the recent resignations of industry minister Isshu Sugawara and Justice Minister Katsuyuki Kawai. “I feel keenly responsible,” he said.

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