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Tokyo med school's discrimination against female applicants confirmed

The front gate to Tokyo Medical University is seen in this photo taken in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward on July 4, 2018. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Lawyers tasked with probing alleged backdoor admissions to a Japanese medical university said Tuesday they have confirmed the practice for certain applicants, as well as the deduction of entrance exam marks for all female applicants.

The deduction of marks, dating back to at least 2006, "is nothing but discrimination against women," said one of the lawyers who conducted an internal investigation for Tokyo Medical University at a press conference.

The lawyers also said that the university's former Chairman Masahiko Usui, 77, and former President Mamoru Suzuki, 69, had received money from the parents of applicants whose entrance exam scores had been padded, as they disclosed the results of their investigation.

The former university executives padded the scores of some applicants who were children of the university's graduates so the institution could garner donations from the parents, said an investigative report released by the lawyers.

In addition, they confirmed the practice of subtracting exam points for all women, as well as for men who were taking the test for at least the fourth time, saying the practice likely began in 2006.

The practice of subtracting points from female candidates was conducted to prevent a shortage of doctors at affiliated hospitals, with the medical college believing that female doctors tend to resign or take long periods of leave after getting married or giving birth, sources familiar with the matter said earlier.

Some university officials in charge of the entrance exam are believed to have used a manual which describes specific ways to manipulate points to adjust admissions, according to the sources.

The score rigging was ordered by Usui and known to only Suzuki and another high-ranking university official, with the aim of keeping the ratio of women studying at the university at around 30 percent and having specific applicants pass the exam.

The practice was discovered in the course of the internal investigation in the wake of a bribery scandal involving the university's top executives and a senior education ministry official.

The scores of six applicants including the son of Futoshi Sano, 59, a former senior education ministry official, were inflated by up to 49 marks in this year's primary exam with a maximum score of 400, the sources said.

The lawyers said that Sano's son was given an additional 10 marks, which they described as "unlawful," adding Usui and Suzuki have both admitted to the practice.

In July, Usui and Suzuki stepped down as the chairman and president of the university, respectively, after they were alleged to have bribed Sano in the form of guaranteeing his son's enrollment in exchange for a government subsidy. All three have been indicted.

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