Japanese protest rally
© Asahi Shimbun
Protesters rally against unfair entrance exams for medical schools in front of Juntendo University in Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward.
Female applicants outperformed their male counterparts in the entrance exam for Juntendo University's medical school, which had previously rigged the system to give men an unfair advantage toward admission.

Of the 1,679 women who took the fiscal 2019 exam, 139, or 8.28 percent, passed. Among the men, 170 of 2,202 applicants passed the exam for a success rate of 7.72 percent, Juntendo University said on June 17. It was the first time in seven years for women to have a higher pass rate than men at the private university in Tokyo. "This is a result of abolishing the unfair treatment of female applicants and repeat applicants," the university said in a statement.

In 2018, a number of medical schools were found to have manipulated the exam criteria to give first-time male exam takers an advantage over female applicants and those who had previously failed the exam.

The dean of Juntendo University's medical school in December last year raised a few eyebrows when he tried to justify the rigging of the exam system.

"Women mature faster mentally than men, and their communication ability is also higher," he said at a news conference. "In some ways, this was a measure to help male applicants." The university said it corrected its unfair practices for the fiscal 2019 exam and added female teachers to the teams that conducted interviews with the applicants.

From fiscal 2013 to 2018, an average of 9.16 percent of male applicants passed the medical school's exam, far exceeding the rate of 5.50 percent among female applicants.

The men's success rate was 1.67 times higher than that for women, the largest gap among 81 university medical schools in Japan that were investigated by the education ministry.

In fiscal 2018, the male pass rate was 1.93 times higher than the rate for females trying to enter Juntendo University's medical school.

Under the fair exam for fiscal 2019, the women's success rate was 1.07 times higher than that for men.

An Asahi Shimbun survey received responses from 81 medical schools about their fiscal 2019 entrance exams.

Overall, the male applicants' pass rate was 11.89 percent, 1.08 times higher than 10.99 percent for female applicants.

For the fiscal 2018 exams, the men's pass rate was 1.22 times higher than the rate for women.