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Total number of female university students in Japan 2010-2018

In 2018, there were approximately 1.28 million female students enrolled at Japanese universities, up from about 1.19 million female students in 2010. At the same time, there were about 1.63 million male university students in 2018.

Strengthening the workforce

The number of women studying at universities has increased in recent years as the Japanese government has been trying to raise the number of women in the workforce. The number of working women increased by more than one million between 2016 and 2018. The further inclusion of women is seen as one of the measures that will help to counter the loss of employable people due to demographic change. Japan had a fertility rate of just 1.43 children per woman in 2017, and its population size is expected to shrink considerably in the coming decades.

Tokyo Medical University scandal in 2018

Despite the need for more educated women in the workforce, in 2018 it was revealed that Tokyo Medical University had manipulated admissions for more than a decade in order to reduce the number of female students. The university reasoned that many women would not continue their jobs once they married and had children, which would lead to a shortage of doctors at hospitals. Following a public outcry, an investigation of 81 other medical schools revealed that several schools had discriminated against applicants by manipulating entrance-exam scores. Next to women, applicants who had taken the test several times were also discriminated against, while children of alumni were favored. In 2019, the number of applicants to Tokyo Medical University dropped considerably by over 60 percent, but women passed at a slightly higher rate than men.

Total number of female students enrolled in universities in Japan from 2010 to 2018

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Release date

November 2019



Survey time period

2010 to 2018

Special properties

figures as of May 1 of each year

Supplementary notes

Figures include students in graduate schools, special courses, non-degree students, auditing and research students.
Values have been rounded.
Data prior to 2016 comes from previous reporting.

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Statistics on "Women in Japan"

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