Japanese university exams begin with stricter rules to prevent cheating

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University of Japan uniform entrance exams began across the country on Saturday as organizers introduced stricter rules to prevent cheating after a photographed image of a question was leaked during the test last year.

Organizers have also taken coronavirus measures, such as asking examiners planning to take makeup exams to check if they have a body temperature of 38 C or more as the country grapples with an eighth wave of infections, according to the National Center for University Entrance Examinations.

As part of the new cheating prevention policy, organizers warned test takers that wearing earphones during the exam will be recognized as cheating and a police report may be filed if evidence of cheating is found.

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Other revisions also include proctors asking test takers to put their cell phones on their desks, turn them off, and put them in their bags before the exam.

Students will take the uniform university entrance exam in Tokyo on January 14, 2023. (TBEN)

Prior to the exam, the organizers sent a list of things that examinees should pay attention to along with admission tickets.

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Last year, a female university student from Osaka Prefecture, then age 19, was referred to prosecutors for allegedly leaking a uniform university entrance exam question. She was later sent to Osaka Family Court, where she received two years’ probation.

She sent a photographed image of a world history question via Skype on her smartphone, hidden in the sleeve of her jacket, to at least four University of Tokyo students who requested test answers.

Applicants must take exams in geography, history, civics, Japanese language and foreign languages ​​on Saturdays at 679 locations across the country, while science and math tests are held on Sundays.

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The number of applicants fell by 17,786 from last year to 512,581 this year, the Ministry of Education said.

According to the center, a record 870 universities, colleges and junior colleges will use the results in their screening processes.

Security has also been strengthened at the universities where the exams are held, with police helping to ensure the safety of exam candidates after two students attending the exams were stabbed outside Tokyo University last year.