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Tokyo Medical University favoured applicants who made large donations

Reports have alleged that Tokyo Medical University altered entrance examination scores in favour of applicants whose parents made large donations to the institution.

Released on 29 December 2018, the new allegations were listed in the second and final reports of a third-party committee that was investigating whether the school’s entrance examinations had been rigged.

According to the reports, a total of 109 applicants failed the School of Medicine’s entrance examinations for fiscal 2013 to 2016, despite achieving better results than the lowest-scoring successful applicant.

For the same years, at least 51 applicants had points added to their scores in the entrance examinations. Additions were made in many cases under the instructions of Masahiko Usui, the former chairman of the university’s Board of Regents, and Mamoru Suzuki, the former university president.

The report comes after news earlier this year that Tokyo altered the test scores of female students to reduce the number of women studying medicine at the institution, for which the university apologised.

In October, it was revealed that 69 applicants failed to pass the entrance examinations for fiscal 2017 and 2018 as a result of test-rigging. Combined with the latest report, it is estimated that a total of 178 applicants were victims of the rigging over the past six years.

According to Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun, a person related to the university told the committee members: “In order to pass entrance examinations by receiving favourable treatment, applicants were required to make higher donations than usual.”

If (my child) were to be admitted to your school, I will offer 30 million yen (£216,870)

– Anonymous

Another person, who had served as a “middleman” between an applicant and the university, said: “After the applicant passed the entrance examination, I received money as an honorarium from the applicant’s parents.”

December’s report further disclosed that a letter addressed to Usui stated: “If (my child) were to be admitted to your school, I will offer 30 million yen (£216,870).”

It also emerged that a list kept by Usui has descriptions about politicians, including Diet members, who may have used their influence to help applicants pass the entrance examinations.

Allegedly, in the School of Nursing’s entrance examination for fiscal 2013, Usui ordered school officials to admit a particular applicant and explained: “I received a request from a (different) Diet member.”

The Asahi Shimbun further revealed that one person told the committee members: “I (sent a fax to a Diet member on the list and) demanded that (a certain applicant) pass the entrance examination of the university.”

Subsequently, the applicant passed the entrance examination while on the waiting list, jumping over other applicants in higher positions on the list.

The final report in December concluded: “There is a possibility that some relationship existed (between the donations or honorariums and receiving favorable treatment).”

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