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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Medical School Admits It Altered Tests To Keep Women Out

A Japanese medical university has systematically discriminated against female applicants because women tend to quit as doctors after starting families, media reports have alleged.

The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said Tokyo Medical University had manipulated the entrance exam results of women since about 2011 to keep the female student population low. Quoting unidentified sources, it said the manipulation started after the proportion of successful applicants who were women reached 38% in 2010.

Other Japanese media, including NHK and Kyodo News, also reported claims of exam manipulation. Quoting unnamed sources, NHK said female applicants’ scores were slashed by about 10% in some years.


The allegation surfaced during the university’s investigation of a separate scandal in which its former director was accused of granting admission to the son of a senior education bureaucrat in exchange for a favour.

The school’s public affairs department said officials were surprised by the Yomiuri Shimbun report and had no knowledge of the reported manipulation. It promised to look into the matter.

Yoshiko Maeda, the head of the Japan Medical Women’s Association, said it was astonishing that women were being stripped of their right to seek entry to the medical profession.

“Instead of worrying about women quitting jobs, they should do more to create an environment where women can keep working,” Maeda said in a statement on the association’s Facebook page. “And we need working-style reform, which is not just to prevent overwork deaths but to create a workplace where everyone can perform to the best of their ability regardless of gender.”

In Japan, many female graduates face discrimination in hiring and pay. Long working hours and lack of support in child-rearing from their husbands often force them to give up their careers. As Japan’s population ages and birth rates remain low, many workplaces including hospitals are chronically short-staffed.

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