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Juntendo Univ. ordered to pay $62,500 for gender bias in medical school admissions

The Tokyo District Court is seen in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward in this file photo. (Mainichi/Kenji Yoneda)

TOKYO -- The Tokyo District Court has ordered Juntendo University to pay a total of approximately 8.05 million yen (about $62,500) to 13 women who failed the university's medical school entrance examination after the university adjusted its acceptance criteria to disadvantage women.

    The 13 women are doctors and former medical students of other universities in their 20s to 30s, living in five prefectures. According to their written complaint and other sources, they had sought a total of approximately 54.7 million yen (about $425,000) in compensation and other payments. They took the Juntendo University Faculty of Medicine's entrance exams between the 2011 and 2018 academic years.

    The university established a third-party committee in October 2018 after the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology pointed out the existence of gender-based disparities in its entrance examinations for its faculty of medicine. The committee acknowledged that an unfair process had been implemented since the 2013 academic year, in which the admission standard for female and second-time or later candidates was set higher than that for male candidates who had just graduated from high school.

    In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs claimed that the selection method of treating women unfavorably had been systematically practiced since at least the 2008 academic year. They sought compensation for emotional distress caused by being forced to take an entrance examination that discriminated on the basis of gender, as well as payment of expenses incurred in taking the exam.

    The university countered that the reason it set different acceptance criteria for men and women was because all first-year medical students were required to live in dormitories and there was a limit to the capacity of the women's dormitory. It had therefore requested that the claim be dismissed on the grounds that there was no discriminatory intent.

    (Japanese original by Koji Endo, Tokyo City News Department)

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