Sat, Aug 11, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Japan investigating discrimination at all medical universities


Japan yesterday launched an unprecedented probe into gender discrimination at all of the nation’s medical universities after Tokyo Medical University admitted to altering the entrance test results of female applicants to exclude them.

The Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has asked all 81 private and public medical schools to check their admissions procedures for possible discrimination against female applicants.

Authorities said they would also check the gender ratio of successful applicants over the past six months, confirming that it was the first ever nationwide investigation of its kind.

“If their answers are judged as not reasonable, we will ask additional questions or visit them directly,” a ministry official said, adding that the results of the investigation would be published as early as next month.

The probe came after the university admitted that it routinely altered entrance test scores for female applicants to keep women out, in a scandal that has sparked outrage in Japan.

The alterations reportedly stretched back as far as 2006 and apparently aimed to keep the ratio of women in the school at 30 percent or less.

“The case was extremely regrettable,” Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters, urging medical schools to cooperate with the probe.

The scandal was uncovered by investigators looking into claims that the university padded the scores of an education ministry bureaucrat’s son to help him gain admission.

Local media have reported that other instances had been discovered in which individual entrance test scores were revised upward, suggesting potential favoritism.

However, the scores for female applicants were lowered across the board.

Local media cited sources as saying that the discrimination was the result of a view that women would not be reliable doctors after graduation, as they often quit to marry and start a family.

“No matter what the situation is, women should never be discriminated against unfairly,” Jiji Press quoted Japanese Minister of Justice Yoko Kamikawa as saying.

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