TOKYO -- Tokyo Medical University used entrance exam result manipulation to reject a total of 69 applicants with passing scores, including 55 women, in 2017 and 2018, a third-party panel probing the school's illicit practices announced on Oct. 23.
Of the total, 50 including 44 women took this year's test, and 19 including 11 women applied last year, according to the panel.
The panel recommended the school to re-evaluate the applicants' exam performance and offer admission for academic 2019 starting in April to those still willing to study there, and to respond to compensation requests. The university intends to announce its response in early November, said school officials.
According to the panel, the score rigging was conducted under instructions from former board of regents chairman Masahiko Usui and former President Mamoru Suzuki. The two ex-top officials have been indicted on charge of bribing a former senior education ministry bureaucrat, allegedly by accepting his son to the university in return for ministry subsidies. Suzuki had told a school committee on entrance exams this year that he wanted to have the school accept more men because it had admitted many female applicants the previous year.
The panel's report criticized the manipulation as "violating the principles of equality and equal educational opportunity, and utterly unacceptable."
The panel also revealed that the university changed the scores of applicants to disadvantage women and fifth-time entrance exam takers in the second-phase essay tests of the two-tier screening last year and this year. The school's internal probe committee said in August that there was no evidence of wrongdoing in the first portion of the exams, for which the school uses a common test administered by many institutions.
This year, Tokyo Medical University invited 2,614 applicants to sit its entrance exam, and 171 of them, including 30 women, passed. The figures for last year were 131 successful examinees including 49 women out of 2,832 total applicants. The average success rates over the past six years were 6.8 percent for men and 5.4 percent for women.
In August this year, Tokyo Medical University's internal probe disclosed that the school had added up to 49 points to the scores of 19 applicants in the exam system's first phase test in 2017 and 2018. The school also said that it had been lowering the second phase essay test scores of applicants who had failed in two previous attempts and women since 2006. The panel said they did not know the number of applicants who had been rejected because of the manipulation.
The third-party panel, comprising three members including two lawyers and a female doctor, is also set to investigate the results of the entrance exams from 2013 to 2016.
(Japanese original by Takuya Izawa and Kenichi Mito, City News Department)