In this file photo, female Japanese doctors can be seen checking on a patient Photograph:( AFP )
It comes after a score-rigging scandal emerged over entrance procedures for Tokyo Medical University that systematically cut women applicant’s entrance exam scores for years to keep them out and boost the numbers of male doctors
The acceptance rate for women has exceeded that for men at Japanese medical schools for the first time.
According to data released by Japan's education ministry, 13.6 per cent of female candidates passed exams at 81 medical schools last spring. In comparison, 13.51 per cent of men passed the same exams.
“It has become clear that the acceptance rate will not be low only for female applicants,” said a Japanese education ministry official told Kyodo news agency.
It comes after a score-rigging scandal emerged over entrance procedures for Tokyo Medical University that systematically cut women applicant’s entrance exam scores for years to keep them out and boost the numbers of male doctors.
From 2011, the university began cutting the scores of female applicants to keep the number of women students at about 30 percent, after the number of successful women entrants jumped in 2010.
The exam score alterations were discovered in an internal investigation of a graft allegation that emerged last spring season.
The Yomiuri Shimbun daily quoted university sources as saying the action was prompted by a “strong sense at the school” that many women quit medicine after graduating to get married and have children.
Tokyo Medical University spokesman Fumio Azuma said an internal investigation had already begun after allegations last spring of bribery involving the medical school admission of the son of a senior official of the education ministry.
“Of course, we will ask them to include this in their investigations,” he said, adding that while result of the first investigation is expected this month, he does not know when the probe into the new allegations will be completed.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has made creating a society “where women can shine” a priority, but women still face an uphill battle in employment and hurdles returning to work after having children, despite Japan’s falling birthrate.
A 2018 survey by the health ministry found that just 21.9 per cent of doctors were women, the lowest share among countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, in which the average was 46 per cent in 2015.
(With inputs from agencies)