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Med school in bribery scandal ranked backdoor applicants

These in-house Tokyo Medical University documents appear to show a ranking of applicants for backdoor admissions. Parts of the image are retouched. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Tokyo Medical University, suspected of bribing a senior education ministry official, apparently created a ranking of applicants for backdoor admissions, documents obtained by the Mainichi Shimbun and testimony from university sources show.

The documents have double and single circles next to the names of applicants, and a university source said that the marks "indicate (the applicants') priority for admission" to the university.

The special investigation division of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office has obtained similar documents, and prosecutors apparently are investigating backdoor admissions at the medical university as a background to the bribery case.

The medical school is suspected of illicitly admitting the son of Futoshi Sano, 58, a senior official at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, in February this year. Prosecutors allege that the favor was given in return for Sano's help as then head of the minister's secretariat in the school's winning of a ministry grant worth tens of millions of yen for the promotion of private universities' brand image, at the request of Masahiko Usui, 77, former chairman of the school's board of regents, in May last year. Sano is under arrest but denies the charges, according to investigative sources.

The documents obtained by the Mainichi appear to have been used for entrance examinations five to 10 years ago. Some are handwritten, while others are typed up. A university source said they are "lists of applicants whose entrance exam scores were to be padded."

Contents of the lists differ from year to year. Some lists include columns titled "intermediary," and "relation," which appear to indicate the applicant's relationship with the school. Some also had columns for "the names of parents and guardians" or "academic year of graduation," suggesting there may have been cases in which relatives of the medical school's alumni gained backdoor entrance to the university.

A university source testified that past applicants marked for backdoor admissions had their scores in second-phase exams padded, when admissions were determined in a two-tier examination format.

(Japanese original by Sachi Fukushima, Yoshihiro Sakai and Kenji Tatsumi, City News Department)

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