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 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 1.34 children per woman in 2020, 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.