Nine out of 81 medical schools in Japan have manipulated their entrance exams to favor male applicants and relatives of alumni, the education ministry said Friday in a final report on its probe into university admission processes.
The nine had already admitted to misconduct since the ministry launched a probe in August, prompted by the revelation that Tokyo Medical University discriminated against female applicants and those who had failed exams in the past.
"It is deeply disappointing. I want the universities to make immediate and courteous responses regarding the situation of the applicants," said education minister Masahiko Shibayama. A screening process for the next school year has already begun.
The ministry will start preparing rules to ensure fairness in entrance exams for the 2020 school year and beyond.
Of the nine schools, eight are private universities, including Tokyo Medical University, Juntendo University, Showa University and Nihon University. Kobe University is the only national university among the nine.
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology will consider whether it should reduce its financial support to the eight universities based on rules regulating assistance provided to private schools.
Private schools receive subsidies depending on the size of their student body and the number of teachers they employ.
The ministry already suspended payment of this school year's subsidy to Tokyo Medical University, the first school implicated in the scandal, and is set to decide on how much it will cut its payment by in January.
The ministry also said St. Marianna University School of Medicine is suspected of having favored male and first-time applicants based on past records, but the school on Wednesday denied any misconduct.
St. Marianna University was instructed by the ministry to set up a third-party committee to check the fairness of its admission process, but the school said it has no plans to do so.
The ministry's final report also revealed more than 10 universities had committed dubious acts such as leaving memos on applicants who were relatives of the school's alumni or teachers in interview exams and making lists of applicants recommended by the alumni association or senior university officials.
Those schools were requested by the ministry to correct their practices.
The ministry also called on each university to review the admission process for faculties other than medical schools.
The series of exam-rigging revelations from the universities have caused confusion among those sitting tests, as some universities reduced the number of successful applicants for the next school year to accept those who had been rejected in the past due to improper practices.
"It is unfair that people who are going to take the upcoming exam like us will be negatively affected by past manipulations," said a 19-year-old male student at a cram school in Nagoya who plans to take exams for several universities that have admitted to score rigging.
"It's too late to change schools to apply to because I've been studying with strategies for each university's entrance exam," the student said. "I wanted the ministry to disclose the probe results much earlier."