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Boy Arrested for Cheating after Police Manhunt

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Japanese police have arrested a boy for cheating on his university entrance examination by using a mobile phone to photograph the questions and get the answers from accomplices on the Internet, in what turned out to be Japan’s biggest news story in months.

The incident began with a 19-year-old Sendai man (or “boy” as the Japanese media calls him) who was taking a year out after graduating  from high school to attend prep-school, in the hopes of passing the gruelling entrance examinations for one of Japan’s 4 top universities. He resided at their dormitory.

He decided on a “cunning” scheme (literally – the English word “cunning” in Japanese actually means “cheating”), in which he took a mobile phone into the entrance exams and then mailed photographs of especially difficult questions to an accomplice, who then posted the photo onto the Japanese version of “Yahoo! Answers” and relayed the correct answer back to the student, all in real time as the exam was going on.

By some astonishing happenstance, posting evidence of his cheating on a public website accessible to millions resulted in an investigation, but rather than a report to university authorities or some angry ranting on 2ch, the investigation took the form of a full police manhunt by Japan’s national high-tech crime unit in Kyoto, who demanded logs from Yahoo! and then traced the IPs used back to the cheater.

The mass media soon made the investigation their lead story, and police subsequently resolved to make an example of the young man by charging him with “fraudulent interference with the official duties [of the university]”, and after a short manhunt they succeeded in arresting him.

The man being taken to jail by police amidst a media circus:

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As a result of the Yahoo! connection he came to be identified by the Yahoo! username used, “aicezuki,” although his actual identity has not been released. Some 180 questions in total were asked using the account over an extended period of time, covering English and maths, with as many as 8 questions answered this way in a single exam. The man police arrested claims he acted alone.

Graduation from a top university is generally essential to the career prospects of Japanese salarymen, but actual university life is undemanding – the difficult and extremely crucial part is instead the university entrance examinations, which is why so many Japanese children and young adults find themselves herded into cram schools or forced to take a year out to try again for entry.

Thus it is probably no exaggeration to say that with entry to a respectable university now all but impossible and his name tarred with a cheating conviction, the career of this young man is probably over before it began.

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Perhaps of more interest than the incredibly petty nature of the offence is the handling of the case by Japan’s mass media, who have been treating it akin to an ongoing murder manhunt for several days, with endless diagrams, expert opinions, and even subtitled announcements of the arrest on unrelated programmes.

Reporters have even been pursuing the suspected cheater’s family, and when the suspect “went missing” for a time after making a distraught apology to his family critics of the reporting were left with the distinct impression he might have been hounded into suicide.

The bizarre fixation on the story by both media and police has already been the subject of extensive criticism, with the media widely accused of manufacturing a national scandal out of an inconsequential trifle, and the police of trampling the independence of academia with their absurd criminal investigation and charges.

Even more strangely, the media and police have been completely silent on the issue of how exam invigilators overlooked a student smuggling a phone into the hall and then extensively using it during the exam itself.

The arrest is now Japan’s top story, proving far more interesting to the mass media than Libyan civil war, New Zealand earthquakes, the ongoing disintegration of the government and Chinese jets buzzing Okinawan airspace – despite the general difficulty in finding any normal person who actually cares about an isolated case of exam cheating.

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155 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    He should go to fucking jail cause people like me never cheated and we tried hard to get to our universities and a shithead like this gets a friend with a phone and he thinks hes so smart.
    Oh no you don’t my boy XD

  • Anonymous says:

    I’m Japanese.
    Kyoto university`s entrance exam is one of the most difficult entrance exams in Japan.
    Particularly,in order to pass the English test, students need not only English skill but good and deep knowledge of Japanese language.
    I’m sorry for my poor English.

  • lol i actually thought that was the “kid”

    i guess japan takes education to seriously(which is good in some degree)

    heck i even remember a case back at my home where people cheat on test by watching a movie in a cinema. yes in a cinema. students line up to watch this so called “movie” but in truth. it was a slideshow of the upcoming board exams. it shows every answers and the exact questions from the test.

    once your caught it’s all over 😛

  • Who gives a rat’s ass it’s just an entrance exam in every other country this would not even worth a traffic cop’s time.
    In the US they’d simply tossed his test out, tell him he failed because he cheated.

    Really Japan as a country seems doomed.

  • Anonymous says:

    That’s the BIG NEWS in Japan right now? We have islamic crackheads gunning down American soldiers on German airports, several REAL revolutions in Afrika (in the extremely unlikely event that someone from Libya, Tunisia or Egyp, reads this: Go get ’em guys! Way to go!) and they devote a shitload of screentime to THIS?
    Seriously, wtf is WRONG with you, Japan?

  • Anonymous says:

    That’s the BIG NEWS in Japan right now? We have islamic crackheads gunning down American soldiers on German airports, several REAL revolutions in Afrika (in the extremely unlikely event that someone from Libya, Tunisia or Egyp, reads this: Go get ’em guys! Way to go!) and they devote a shitload of screentime to THIS?
    Seriously, wtf is WRONG with you, Japan?

  • Anonymous says:

    Japanese news makes me lol. There are so many news programs and yet so little crime or actual news going on in the country that reporters are starved for content and will milk whatever stories they can find. While I was in Japan, news stations reported for an entire month about a girl who got a stomach ache from eating gyoza and one about a cow that refused to get out of a busy street…

    • Anonymous says:

      “Authorities are currently trying to reason with the cow, attempting to discern it’s reasons for blocking the street. Now we go to our expert agricultural correspondent, John Oliver.”

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed.

      “fraudulent interference with the official duties [of the university]” WTH?

      There’s no basis in the japanese law (or any other that I’m aware of) for arresting a student for cheating, completely ridiculous.

      Yeah, it was immoral and deserves to be banned from that university, but it’s actually illegal to arrest him for that.

      If had been making money from it, then yeah, it would be fraud, but that wasn’t the case.

  • Here in Mexico happens all the time, like the “Kalimba Case” an alleged rape to a 17 near 18 girl, that is called: “Mass Media Redirection”, the government will “make” hot news, then the media will go “boom”. So the government can manipulate other important news out of the public eye.

  • Lets put it this way in Japanese society education is serious business.Chances are most Japanese who try to pass that exam will go on to getting a better education, and high paying jobs(which they believe to be true) while those who didn’t pass end up having a hard time getting a job that pays well (Sometimes, believe they hit rock bottom and try to kill themselves).

  • Anonymous says:

    God dam, if suddenly a wave of mass murderers suddenly appear in japan, the media will either masturbate to them or ignore them for a more media worthy story like how fucking cold/hot today’s weather is.

  • Anonymous says:

    heard of this before lol the exam had to be repeated pissing every exam taker off. it wasn’t a big issue but i think the cheater got chased by the parents of the students. it’s a funny event somehow in my country but i think in the land of exaggeration, it’s quite their lvl.

  • Don’t go ‘you obviously…’. I’m a university graduate. Thank you for bringing that up.

    Max hours per paper at my university is 3 hours. It’s pretty standard in my country and neighbouring country. Shortest that I’ve known of here is 30 minutes (for simple papers).

    Obviously you didn’t realize that every university has different system.

    Even if it’s 6 hours, you couldn’t have gotten the answers from the net that fast unless you’re damn lucky. Ever used Yahoo! Answer?

    • Anonymous says:

      Concerning this topic:
      Since Freiher zu Guttenberg has now lost his parliamentary immunity he is facing over 80 individual charges. Most of them are charges for plagiasrism, some are for fraud.

      On a slightly unrelated note, his full name is Karl Theodor Maria Nikolaus Johann Jacob Philipp Franz Joseph Sylvester Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg. This anon thinks that those nobles are nucking futs.

      • Anonymous says:

        Germans are awfully prude about their titels.
        Almost all of them have a plaque with their titels in GOLD outside their establishments.

        I mean; duh. Who are they showing of to? Me?
        I don’t care if the dentist has magister or master; just fix my damn tooth!?

      • Anonymous says:

        He could easily get into US schools and get his BA so long as he had the money.

        But then it might be a culture shock for him to put in effort during college to get his BA. At least more effort than what would be required in a Japanese uni.

  • Reasons cheating becomes newsworthy in Japan (guesses): it deals with Japan, and is apolitical. The people who watch the news probably don’t care about Libya or New Zealand, and the politicians probably (read this probably as “do”) have ties into the media.

  • Anonymous says:

    WHAT. THE. FUCK.

    im studying at the university of toronto in mechanical engineering, and EVERY.FUCKING.TEST/MIDTERM/FINAL these 10 or so fucking persians are sitting in the back and TALKING to eachother in their own language. they get caught 80% of the time, but they ALWAYS get away with it.

    and u have 1 cheating japanese get media coverage

  • How is this any different then America? Our media bloat things like this constantly and we had a congressional meeting over steroids in baseball during a military invasion. You could almost say we’re setting an example.

    • In the US all they would have done would have been threw the test out and maybe gave him the boot.
      Worst case any scholarship money gotten from a very high score may have to be repaid.

      It’s a an entrance exam no harm was done.
      Now if it was a graduation exam esp for a position where you really do need to know what you are doing such as a medical doctor then yes it could be harmful.
      Any how it would not even make the local paper in the US.
      I now know why Japan has such a crushing debt.
      They piss away money on this shit.

  • Anonymous says:

    Is Artefact trolling again or does the 47-year-old chef in the second picture has anything to do with the news (other than the random news blurb at the top of the screen)?

    It is so obvious that he is not the suspect in the case. =_=

  • Wait, though cheating is bad why would they make this as “national” news as if it’s a crisis or something… I know that Japan is really sensitive in issues relating to morals and stuff but, this is taking too far -_-;; and plus, they got other important things to worry about.

  • Definitely not Tokyo University material if he was stupid enough to make his scheme public on the net.
    The Japanese public should be more concerned why the police are wasting tax money investigating this nonsense. As for the media, its just status quo.

    • Because it was never attempted before until now in Japan that is the reason why the Japanese Media focus on this because education is serous business.

      I do agree that they should just told this person that he will not go to any Fancy University in the near future because he caught cheating on a test and let him kill himself. I guess they had to send the police over the fear that this person will kill himself.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think Todai, Kyoto and the top universities in Japan are ranked at the top are more because of research compared to a demanding curriculum. If ur talking about demanding curriculum, NUS(National University of Singapore) is on of them, and is one of the hardest to get into.

  • Anonymous says:

    It’s rather hilarious. I mean, come on. Japanese entrance exams have nothing to do with actually “learning”. It’s just tenacious memorizing of answers for multiple-choice crap. In other countries you have to write whole passages of your own, to show that you have an understanding of the matter.

    As such, i don’t really see a problem with this case here. The universities don’t even give a shit about anything that happens after the entrance exam. And it surely doesn’t really matter what the individual actually studies after that. The only thing that counts in Japan is that you have entered a “prestigious” university. Noone will ever ask you anything beyond that in the business world.

    • Anonymous says:

      You seem to trivialize it like some kind of joke. Allot of good schools in California like UC Berkeley and UCLA only require pretty much filling out info on a form and a short essay (1000 words i think) on why you want to go there. Also i can’t say much about Japan but yes Colleges do care about what happens after you enroll thats why they kick you out if you have consistent bad grade.

      In a way the entrance exam to is almost the equivalent to taking the SAT’s, a comprehensive test of everything you’ve learned. It’s how they measure you up so no shit it’s no about “learning” it’s about what you “learned”

      • Anonymous says:

        Obviously because there are people who enjoy scientific work and stay at their university after graduation.
        The educational system in Japan, as it is, is mostly eye candy. A real academic life starts after the entrance exams. Thankfully, even in Japan, university life is not just about stoic memorizing but actual learning and doing.

    • Well, if “Graduation from a top university is generally essential to the career prospects …” is considered to be the determining point in a Japanese person’s life then it should be severely punished.

      But it’s still fucking ridiculous that they didn’t just turn it over to the university to fail the guy and save of the tax money.

    • Anonymous says:

      “It’s just tenacious memorizing of answers for multiple-choice crap.”

      It is so wrong. Japanese entrance exams is very difficult.you have to write whole passages of your own also in Japan.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, mostly multiple choice with a few exceptions, where you have to write a few sentences (for translations or when you have to write a mathematical solution step-by-step).

        The Japanese entrance exams are considerided hard because they cover everything from your past school-live from a-z. It’s completely stupid because it doesn’t reflect on your future academical aspirations. It’s like them asking you to repeat everything you have ever “learned” at school in a couple of hours. I mean, by successfully graduating from school you have already proven yourself.

        What makes this worse is that after gaining entrance to a university, you have already won. After that you could study “The art of how to tie your shoes”. No-one would give a shit as long as you can prove that you entered a certain university and no-one will even think about checking if you’re truly qualified for the job. After all, you were at a top-university, so you have to be “smart”.

        • Anonymous says:

          Hi from Kansas City Community College.

          I’m prod to say over herre at our fine schoole,we’s hardly be cheating on tests and stuff.ALL uf our tefts are in multible choices and sum come in nice crossword puzzel form to. Teh intrance exam is swell too, theys even be givin us lollipops for finishin all 50 questions! I dunno bout wat all you be talkins about over in those ching chang Jap schools n all, but herre, we’s treat ourr educatin cereaslly.

        • Anonymous says:

          Hi from The University of Tokyo.

          That leisure life that some claim after entering the university in Japan may apply to some cases, but in the graduate school here the research activities are really demanding. You won’t have any time to waste if you want to get your articles published someday.

          The entrance examination for the graduate school is something like this:
          1. Written examination: To SOLVE 3 problems out from 5 possible topics. Mathematics, Organic Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, etc. No multiple choice problems. Differential equations knowledge needed in all cases. (2hrs. 30 min.)
          2. A research paper analysis and essay writing about the intended research topic. (2hrs.)
          3. Oral presentation of actual and future research topics. The whole board of professors present. (30 min.)

          So please don’t believe that Japanese higher education is empty and that only needs to remember some things to secure a good life. The academic life here is demanding and full of challenges.

        • Anonymous says:

          Hi from Kyoto University.

          Actually, there’re hardly any multiple choice questions in Kyoto University’s entrance exam, because it’s a public univ.(Precisely, multiple choises are only in a few subjects, like science and history, not in math or English.)
          You may be confused with so-called “Center Examination”- Japanese counterpart of SAT, where all questions are multiple choises, naturally.
          Or, some private universitys’ entrance exams also have all too much multiple choices, because there are just too many examinees. (You can apply to as many private univs as you like, but only one public univ here!)

          Umm… it must have been an uncalled-for intervention.
          I didn’t mean to offend you or anying. Just got a little sad seeing my university being dishonored.

  • Anonymous says:

    Our world is filled with a whole lot of shitty system trying to fuck us up and make our lives harder. This guy just thought of a way to find a way to get even with the system.

    Stupid people think that grades are all there is to life.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually, the system is fucked up. I saw some really crappy job requirements. Like a college degree for a janitor job.

        Not that I want to be a janitor. But, the system is really fucked up, so why accept a fucked up way of living?

        And no, the people you are talking about aren’t smart enough to adjust to what the system gives them. The system itself trains them to be like what they are. They’d normally end up as cubicle zombies, wasting their lives working until they get too old to work and die.

        What you’re saying is like. Ishihara bans your anime cause he says so and he’s in command and you can just let it be? You’re a bigger idiot than I expected.

        • A college degree for a Janitor job WTF in the US they don’t even require being able to speak clear English.
          We have a lot of Mexican janitors here not that I should complain as they do work hard.

          Putting too much stock in paper requirements can actually be a detriment as you end up getting people with a lot of paper assets but don’t know the ass from a hole in the ground in a real life situation.

        • Anonymous says:

          if u can’t win them, join them or be annihilated. unfortunately that’s what majority of society is. paper qualifications sux but that’s the way to go. yea there are geniuses that make it big without qualifications but i seriously doubt any of them are among sankaku users.

  • It’s news items like this, that make it easy to say I love anime, and Iove Japanese school girls, but I have no desire to actually live in Japan.

    Really, this is the lead story in Japan?

    I am actually finding it hard to say anything. Just dumbfounded.

  • Meanwhile at the police station

    Stranger: So what they get you for?
    19yr old: Cheating on a Uni entrance exam, you?
    Stranger: Attempted assault on a police officer.
    19yr old: Wow that actually sounds like…bad.
    Stranger: No! I farted at a tollbooth, the guy called for back up claiming i was trying to poison him.
    Police: Shut up, this is what you get for using chemical weapons for trying to get out of paying a $1 toll.

  • Anonymous says:

    What does anything you ranted about have to do with ‘false American freedoms’? Freedom is something granted by the government, not by individuals. If you’re going to bash on America, at least bash on something that makes sense, moron.

  • Bronxdragon says:

    This required a police force? Not little loli getting gang raped in a park bathroom, wannabe magical girl setting fire to stuff, Teacher staging a sex ring instead of a class or even someone pretending to be a samurai going on a killing spree? Seriously what the fuck?

  • now, let me get this

    japan biggest news story in months is a boy being arrested for cheating? o.O

    so where is all this violence or sexual act that
    anime\manga\games seem to be influencing?

    Japan as official become the land of WTF!?!

  • uber phallus says:

    “…but rather than a report to university authorities or some angry ranting on 2ch, the investigation took the form of a full police manhunt by Japan’s national high-tech crime unit in Kyoto, who demanded logs from Yahoo! and then traced the IPs used back to the cheater.”

    I’ll love to see what rantings are on 2ch than watch police panic!

  • I don’t get it. At most you have 3 hours for a paper. How can you get the answers that quick through such tedious process while answering other questions? I don’t remember Yahoo! Answer replies that quick either.

    And the time taken to sneak your phone and snap it when nobody’s looking… shouldn’t be that quick too.

    Would’ve been faster to ask the accomplice to look it up from the books and reply straight to him.

    But still, that might only work for under 10 questions. :S

    • Anonymous says:

      You obviously don’t attend any University. (No harm intended if you do; still…where is it that relaxed?)

      A exam is at least 4 hours; sometimes six; averaging av five.

      My local university has no less than 25 cases a year; and that’s only the ones that get caught.

      • Don’t go ‘you obviously…’. I’m a university graduate. Thank you for bringing that up.

        Max hours per paper at my university is 3 hours. It’s pretty standard in my country and neighbouring countries. Shortest that I’ve known of here is 30 minutes (for simple papers).

        Obviously you didn’t realize that every university has different systems. Exams are stressful here even for those who are prepared. Relaxed? [i]At least[/i] 4 hours? Now I’m not even sure if [i]you[/i] attended one. (No harm intended too if you do.)

        Even if it’s 6 hours, you couldn’t have gotten the answers from the net that fast unless you’re damn lucky. Ever used Yahoo! Answer?

        (You started it…)

      • Anonymous says:

        Getting answers from random people is not the problem.

        Posting the actual photo of the questions on the internet is a stupid thing to do. Didn’t it even cross his mind that somebody might recognize the photos!?

        – Anonymous
        21:14 03/03/2011

        • Anonymous says:

          I think the issue with recognizing the photos is in that people can recognize the template used for printing them on the paper and notice that they are university exam questions.

          If the person just tapped it out on his iPhone, then he could have masked it as just homework or something more innocuous.

          Even then, uni exams still on paper? If it’s important enough to involve a manhunt, maybe they should use computerized tests on locked out computers in rooms with surveillance cameras.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is japan for you. This country is fucking ridiculous. Come here and take a look at the workings here. Japan is not a wonderful place like you foolish foreigners imagine it to be.

  • What a loser, but if he is do dumb he needs to cheat in order to have a chance to graduate then it may have been his only shot. Lucky for him he failed now as if he got cheating in the real work place in Japan thins would be much harder on him. He has no honor as they say.

  • If he was going to cheat, hi might have used VPN, they are cheap. Supposing he have access to a computer with public IP, he could have send data there through web interface, and from there the computer would have through cheap paid VPN in some obscure country like Mexico post the question on Yahoo!. No one would find who post that. Or he could used tor anonymizing service. Of course, a little programming skills would be needed to make it work with a phone. I dunno if someone actually answered his question, in such a short time like exam, he should have setup privave forum on some free webhosting and pay a good and educated friend for helping him.