Asia Minute: Japanese Medical School Lowers Women’s Admission Scores

Aug 3, 2018

Tokyo Medical University Hospital
Credit Rs1421 / Wikimedia Commons

Reports have surfaced this week that one of Japan’s leading medical schools changed the test scores of women applying for admission. An investigation shows the practice started nearly a decade ago — with the aim of suppressing the number of women who become doctors.

Japan’s largest newspaper reports Tokyo Medical University has for years tampered with test scores of female applicants. The Yomiuri Shimbun says that since 2011 officials at the private university have been knocking 10 to 20-percent off the scores of women applying for medical school.

The goal: to keep the ratio of women at the medical school at about 30-percent.

In 2010, roughly 40-percent of applicants admitted to the school were women. That was double the previous year — which apparently bothered admission officials. The Yomiuri quoted a source as saying “women often quit after graduating and becoming a doctor, when they get married and have a child.”

Tokyo Medical University is already under fire for a bribery scandal. Last month, the president and the chairman of the university both resigned following allegations that they bribed a bureaucrat — guaranteeing his son’s admission in exchange for a government subsidy.

Tokyo Medical University Hospital
Credit Rs1421 / Wikimedia Commons

The Yomiuri says it was the investigation into this case that uncovered the discriminatory practice against women.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says about 20-percent of doctors in Japan are women — the lowest figure among 34 countries listed in its study.