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Much needs to be done before women can truly ‘shine’ in Japan

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There has been a huge public outcry since reports surfaced that the Tokyo Medical University has been systematically altering the entrance exam scores of women applicants. The practice, which dates back as early as 2006, was intended to disqualify women and boost the number of male students admitted.

University officials involved in the policy admitted to a third-party investigation committee that they instituted this discriminatory practice to suppress the number of qualifying female applicants, based on the argument that without it the institution’s affiliated hospitals would be unsustainable because women tend to quit due to marriage and childbirth. The university had also altered the results of male applicants who had taken the exam multiple times, citing their relatively old age as a negative factor.

Since taking office in 2012, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced a new government initiative to make Japan a country “where women can shine.” But in the last six years, more than ¥13 billion in government subsidies has gone into the coffers of Tokyo Medical University while the school was intentionally excluding qualified women from studying to become doctors.

This highlights how little Abe’s promises have achieved. Although the number of female workers in........

© The Japan Times