By MARI YAMAGUCHI
TOKYO (AP) — A Tokyo medical university faced a new allegation after a newspaper report Thursday that the school has allegedly discriminated against female applicants on grounds they tend to quit as doctors after starting families, causing staffing shortages.
The Yomiuri newspaper said that Tokyo Medical University has since around 2011 manipulated entrance exam results only for women to keep female student population low. Quoting unidentified sources, it says the manipulation started after the number of successful female applicants reached 38 percent of the total in 2010.
Two other Japanese media, including NHK public television and Kyodo News, also reported the exam manipulation. Quoting unnamed sources, NHK said that female applicants’ scores were slashed by about 10 percent in some years.
The allegation surfaced during the school’s ongoing probe of a separate scandal in which its former director allegedly admitted the son of a top education bureaucrat to the school in exchange for a favor.
The school’s public affairs department said officials were surprised by the Yomiuri report and have no knowledge of the reported manipulation. It promised to look into the matter.
In Japan, many women are college educated but after graduation face discrimination in hiring and pay, while long working hours and lack of support in child rearing and domestic help by their husbands often force them to give up their careers. As aging population grows in Japan and birth rates remain low, many workplaces including hospitals are chronically short staffed.
Exam results of female applicants are often superior to men, and the school would have to accept more women than their intended number without the measure, the Yomiuri quoted its sources as saying.
In Japan, medical graduates usually end up working at school-affiliated hospitals.
According to the Yomiuri, the school started to keep the percentage of annual female admissions at about 30 percent by manipulating the test scores to get more women to fail.