Photo/IllutrationJuntendo University President Hajime Arai, right, and Hiroyuki Daida, dean of the medical school, hold a news conference in Tokyo’s Bunkyo Ward on Dec. 10. (Shiro Nishihata)

Juntendo University and Kitasato University admitted to discriminating against female applicants in entrance exams on Dec. 10, joining a growing scandal of medical schools in Japan that have rigged scores to favor male applicants.

Juntendo University set different passing scores for male and female applicants on the second exam, which included an interview.

“Women mature faster mentally than men and their communication ability is also higher (when they take the entrance exam)," Hiroyuki Daida, dean of the medical school, said at a news conference on Dec. 10. "In some ways, this was a measure to help male applicants.”

In addition, Kitasato University prioritized male applicants and applicants who had previously failed the exam fewer times in the past, when it contacted applicants who were accepted to fill vacancies for its general exam for fiscal 2018. It made the admission on its webpage.

In August, an entrance exam rigging scandal was triggered after it was discovered that male applicants had a pass rate 1.29 times higher than for female applicants at Tokyo Medical University. Officials at the university found an organized effort to inflate the scores of certain male applicants while taking measures to place female applicants and those who had failed the entrance exam more than twice at a disadvantage.

Since then, the education ministry has been investigating the entrance exam processes at 81 universities with faculties of medicine in Japan.

At Juntendo University, 165 applicants in total were unfairly assessed as unable to pass the spring entrance exam in 2017 and 2018. The university decided to accept an additional 48 applicants for fiscal 2019, of which 47 applicants were women, who all failed the second part of the exam.

Juntendo University officials explained why they treated female applicants unfairly. The first reason was that women mature mentally faster than men and their communication ability is also higher when they take the entrance exam. As the gap is eliminated after both sexes enter the school, there was a need to balance out the discrepancy in the exam process. The second reason was since the capacity of the university's female dormitory is limited, it needed to reduce the number of female students.

But the third-party committee pointed out that those reasons were not acceptable.

“At that time, we judged that the measure was reasonable at our university’s discretion," Juntendo University President Hajime Arai said at the news conference on Dec. 10 and apologized for the practice. "We won’t do it from now on after being pointed out that our measure was inappropriate.”

Kitasato University officials will consider how to deal with the matter by setting up a third-party committee.