At least 40 universities in Japan have implemented a quota system for female applicants in fields related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) — fields studied by a low percentage of women in Japan — according to a report released by the Yamada Shintaro D&I Foundation on Thursday.

The foundation, started by the CEO of Japanese e-commerce company Mercari to support women in STEM fields, found that some 700 spots in 40 universities across the nation have been set aside for female applicants in this year's entrance examinations.

In a survey conducted over the last two months, only three schools — out of 24 universities that replied — had introduced a quota system before 2020; four began doing so from fiscal 2023 onward; and 16 are beginning in fiscal 2024, the school year that starts next month. One university plans to implement such a quota from next year.