- Tuesday, August 07, 2018 7:03 PM
Tokyo, 7 August 2018 (MIA) – One of Japan’s most prestigious medical universities marked down tests from female applicants as they were considered more likely to leave the profession after getting married and having children, the Telegraph reports.
In a growing scandal that has triggered widespread anger and reflection over gender equality in Japan, Tokyo Medical University was also found to have accepted bribes to inflate the results of “priority” male applicants whose families were linked to the institution.
The investigation was triggered when prosecutors in July indicted Futoshi Sano, a former director general at the education ministry, on charges of helping the university secure Y35 million (EUR 271,403) in government subsidies in exchange for a place for his son at the college.
The probe quickly ballooned to reveal that a number of male students classified as “priority” applicants—often children of graduates of the university—had their test scores revised upwards to ensure they would have a place at the university and bring in donations from the parents, the report released by the investigators on Tuesday revealed.
At the same time, university officials subtracted points from the test scores of every female applicant to the university.
Officials even worked from a manual detailing how the scores were to be manipulated and indicating that the aim was to keep the number of female students at the university to around 30 percent of the total.
Initial reports suggested the policy had been implemented in 2011, although the investigation traced the first cases back to 2006, Kyodo News reported.
“We have betrayed the trust of the public,” admitted Tetsuo Yukioka, managing director of the university, at a press conference at which he bowed deeply to demonstrate his regret.
“Society is changing rapidly, and we need to respond to that, and any organization that fails to utilize women will become weak,” he said.
School officials have stated they will consider compensating students who were not granted places because of their gender.
The scandal has caused anger in Japan, where the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has taken a series of measures to promote equality and empower women in society.
In an editorial, the Asahi newspaper criticised the university for discriminating against female candidates - but suggested that the case may not be an isolated one.
“It is hard not to wonder whether this university is the only organization in this country that puts up barriers to women’s career development without tackling the structural problems that make it hard for them to continue working while taking care of family," it said. mr/19:03
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