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Japan high schooler passes difficult electrical engineer's exam through self-study

Takuto Furuya shows off his notification for passing an electrical engineer license exam at Mie Prefectural Technical High School in the city of Matsusaka, Mie Prefecture, on March 17, 2022. (Mainichi/Koichi Tanaka)

MATSUSAKA, Mie -- A 17-year-old boy in this central Japan city has passed a challenging national exam for the "Class II Chief Electrical Engineer's License" through self-study, and has likely become "the first second-year high school student in the country" to achieve the feat, according to the school.

    Takuto Furuya studies at Mie Prefectural Matsusaka Technical High School's electrical engineering department. But the Class II exam goes beyond the contents of high school lessons, so he studied by himself to pass the test.

    Chief electrical engineers who hold the Class II license are allowed to supervise construction and security work for electricity sources under 170,000 volts, such as large-scale plants and power company facilities. The license is difficult to obtain even for those who have related work experience and for university students. In fiscal 2021, 413 people nationwide passed the exam -- a pass rate of 4.6%.

    According to the school, in fiscal 2020, two test-takers in the country -- including a then third-year student at Matsusaka Technical High School -- became the first high schoolers to pass the Class II exam in 10 years, which became major news.

    In January 2021, when Furuya was a first-year student, he began to take supplementary courses at the school held before regular classes and on weekdays during the summer break for an exam for the Class III Chief Electrical Engineer's License, holders of which are allowed to work on electrical structures handling power under 50,000 volts. He also studied independently using textbooks and workbooks he bought. He took exams for the Class III as well as Class II licenses, and passed both.

    Furuya received a notification about passing the Class II exam in February. He said, "By scoring it myself, I thought I had passed it, but I was relieved to (officially) receive the result. In my third year at school (which starts in April), I will study hard to enter university, and want to get a technical job in the future."

    (Japanese original by Koichi Tanaka, Tsu Bureau)

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