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Tokyo Medical Univ. to pay $520K to settle lawsuit over entry exam rigging

A Tokyo Medical University building is seen in the capital's Shinjuku Ward on July 4, 2018. (Mainichi/Koichiro Tezuka)

TOKYO -- Tokyo Medical University is set to pay a total of some 57 million yen (about $520,000) to the Consumers Organization of Japan (COJ) in a lawsuit settlement over the university's rigging of entrance exams.

    The university and the COJ, an incorporated nonprofit group, reached the settlement at the Tokyo District Court on July 27 after the COJ sued the university for the return of entrance exam fees on behalf of 558 former applicants who had been discriminated against in the exams. The former applicants will receive between 40,000 yen (about $360) and 220,000 yen (about $2,000) each, depending on how many times they took the exams.

    This is the first case in which a specific amount of compensation has been determined since a law allowing third parties to seek collective redress on behalf of victims went into effect in December 2016.

    The university had adjusted students' scores in the general entrance exams and in second-stage exams following the National Center Test for University Admissions in the 2017 and 2018 academic years without stating so in application guidebooks, adding extra points to male high school senior applicants' scores, but not doing so for female applicants or for male applicants who had failed the exam four or more times and applicants who had passed high school equivalence tests.

    A total of 7,209 people took the entrance exams, of which 393 passed. The COJ had sought a total of some 66 million yen (about $600,000) from the university on behalf of 563 female applicants and repeat applicants among those who failed the exams, under the Act on Special Measures Concerning Civil Court Proceedings for the Collective Redress for Property Damage Incurred by Consumers.

    According to the COJ, it was unable to reach a settlement for four former applicants for reasons including not being able to confirm their exam history. Additionally, one former applicant had agreed with the university on the amount of payment ahead of the settlement.

    Koichi Isobe, a member of the board of directors at the COJ, said during a news conference, "We have succeeded in making use of the system to recover damages for cases that would have been difficult to address individually."

    Yoshio Yazaki, chairman of the Board of Regents at Tokyo Medical University, commented, "We will work on the implementation of proper entrance exams while thoroughly preventing recurrences."

    (Japanese original by Kazuhiro Toyama, Tokyo City News Department)

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