Tokyo court orders medical university to pay for gender-biased entrance exams

Tokyo District Court has ordered a medical university to pay compensation of roughly 127,000 dollars to a group of women who said their entrance exam scores were lowered because of their gender.

The lawsuit was filed by 28 women who failed Tokyo Medical University's entrance exams from 2006 to 2018.

Presiding Judge Hiraki Kyoko said in Friday's ruling that the university uniformly discriminated against female applicants because of their gender, which they could not change through their own effort or will.

She said this violates the intent of Article 14 of the Constitution, which prohibits unreasonable discrimination.
Hiraki added that the school failed to disclose that it was adjusting the scores, and deprived the students of opportunities to take exams at other universities.

The court awarded 27 of the plaintiffs between around 1,400 and 11,000 dollars each. It rejected the suit by the remaining plaintiff, saying it could not confirm that she had taken an entrance exam.

After the ruling, one of the plaintiffs, Hasegawa Maya, told reporters that it was worth four years of trial because she was able to show society that discrimination against women is unacceptable.

Hasegawa said that, to her, compensation is not about whether it's a high or low figure. She added, however that she doesn't think the amount was appropriate for gender discrimination.

The plaintiffs' lead attorney, Tsunoda Yukiko, said it doesn't seem as though the ruling faces the issue of discrimination against women head-on. She said she will continue to fight to gain recognition for compensation that deters such gender bias.

Tokyo Medical University released a comment saying it will examine the content of the ruling and consider a response.

Following the revelation at Tokyo Medical University, the education ministry surveyed medical universities across Japan and found that 10 of them had been conducting their exams inappropriately.

In a similar lawsuit that has been finalized, Juntendo University has been ordered to pay damages.