The investigation was launched by the education ministry—into 81 public and private medical schools—after the Tokyo Medical University in August had admitted that it had systematically altered the test scores of women to keep out female students.
After initially investigating, the ministry carried out field visits to 30 institutions to learn more about how they conducted entry exams.
“Inappropriate practices were discovered at several universities,” stated the ministry in the interim report, without specifying a number or naming the schools outright.
The report found evidence of schools using various methods to keep out female applicants and candidates taking the entrance test for the second or third time. Some female applicants were rejected despite achieving scores that should have been enough for them to get admitted.
In other cases, preference was given to children of alumni over those with higher test scores.
The ministry stated there were no plans at present to punish universities involved, or even to make public those involved.
“We have chosen not to name the establishments but we are asking them to provide explanations for their practices,” Education Minister Masahiko Shibayama said at a press conference.
The report urged universities to end discrimination “so candidates can take their exams without worry.”
The final results of the investigation are to be published in December –with added visits being planned by the ministry.
A ministry official said the current probe only covers medical schools, but “the investigation would be expanded if inappropriate practices were uncovered at other establishments.”