SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: August 10, 2018

Attack Types: Other

Institution(s):Tokyo Medical University

Region & Country:Eastern Asia | Japan

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On August 10, 2018, Tokyo Medical University admitted to manipulating the entrance exam results of female applicants for more than a decade, artificially limiting the ratio of women enrolled to just under one third of the total student population.

After a newspaper investigation, the university acknowledged that versions of the policy had been in place since 2006 or earlier. Among other things, the investigation found that the university reduced all applicants’ first-stage test scores by 20% and then added at least twenty points for male applicants for this year’s entrance exams. University officials stated that the policy was based on the perception that women were more likely than men to shorten or leave their medical careers, in order to have children.

Japan’s education ministry condemned the policy, and is now examining admission practices at all of the country’s medical schools.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about invidious, gender-based discrimination by a university. University authorities have an obligation to adhere to university values and relevant human rights principles, including equitable access and the right to education. Invidious, gender-based discrimination harms both individual applicants and the institution more broadly.

UPDATE: On November 7, 2018, Tokyo Medical University’s president announced that the university would offer admission to 101 female applicants whose exam scores were wrongfully lowered. In a press conference, president Hayashi reportedly apologized and pledged that the university would drop the practice of altering exam scores based on gender.