Photo/IllutrationThe University of Tokyo in Tokyo’s Bunkyo Ward (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

A committee at the University of Tokyo in charge of organizing welcome events for newcomers will not permit clubs that discriminate against its female students from participating in such activities from this year.

The student committee announced the policy in a crackdown against a deep rooted discriminatory mind-set among some clubs against its incoming female students at the nation's most prestigious institution of learning known as Todai.

According to the committee, female students are routinely refused entry to some clubs that have a mixed male and female membership. Those clubs instead accept female students from other universities, the implication being that they are not as well educated.

The discriminatory attitude apparently stems from a sense that it is better to woo female students from lower-level universities than to have a bunch of very clever women as part of the club membership.

According to a 2018 spring survey by the university newspaper, three clubs of 23 clubs that were contacted and responded said that they don’t admit female students from the university.

“It is a purely discriminatory act to restrict entry of students of a certain university (Todai) based on gender with absolutely no valid reason," the new rule states.

Only clubs that embrace nondiscriminatory behavior will be permitted to join welcoming events that introduce new students to clubs, camps and other activities.

Sociologist Chizuko Ueno, professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo, brought the issue of discrimination toward female students to the fore during a welcoming speech in April 2019.

“Similar clubs existed a half-century ago when I was a student (at Kyoto University)," she said. "It is surprising that such clubs continue today after half a century.”

The university's vice president issued a policy statement for new and current students in March 2019 that pledged to improve the situation.

The document said discriminatory behavior went against the university's philosophy of respecting the human rights of all.