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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 March 4 - 10  > Education Minister: Discrimination against female applicants in med school entrance exams unacceptable
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2020 March 4 - 10 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Education Minister: Discrimination against female applicants in med school entrance exams unacceptable

March 7, 2020

Grilled by the Japanese Communist Party, Education Minister Hagiuda Koichi on March 6 promised to continue investigating the allegation of discrimination against female applicants in medical schools’ entrance exams, and admitted that such an unjust practice is unacceptable.

At a House of Councilors Budget Committee meeting on the day, JCP lawmaker Kira Yoshiko brough up the issue of sexist tactics used in med school entrance exams which are criticized for hindering women students from seeking a career as medical doctors.

JCP Kira cited the case of St. Marianna University School of Medicine as an example.

It has come to light that the university set acceptance standards unjustly higher than male applicants for women applicants. The university, however, showed no sign of remorse for its discriminatory practices by saying that it had no intent to discriminate against women in its entrance exams.

Kira pointed out that discrimination against women in med school entrance exams is a factor in the fact that the percentage of women doctors who passed the national examination for medical practitioners has made up less than 35% of the total for 17 years. Kira said that the government should thoroughly investigate whether women applicants can now take medical school entrance exams on an equal footing with men.

In response, the Education Minister said that discrimination against women applicants is unacceptable, and promised that the ministry will continue to probe into the matter.


On the day, the Tokyo District Court issued a ruling recognizing that Tokyo Medical University, which doctored the entrance exam scores of female applicants for years, should return examination fees to them.

The lawsuit was filed by the Consumers Organization of Japan (COJ) on behalf of female applicants for the exam-rigging university based on the Act on Special Measures Concerning Civil Court Proceedings for the Collective Redress for Property Damage Incurred by Consumers which allows the third party to seek redress on behalf of victims.

The court ruling pointed out that test-takers trusted Tokyo Medical University to offer an equal chance to pass the entrance exam and thus the university’s act cannot avoid being labelled illicit. According to the court, the scope of entitlements to the refund is limited to female applicants who failed the entrance exam in 2017 when the law was implemented as well as in 2018.

Past related article:
> Legal expert team formed to deal with discriminatory scoring against female applicants in med school entrance exams [August 22, 2018]
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