Police: Student Paid Multiple People For Exam Answers; 18-Year-Old Suspect Referred to Prosecutors

The Metropolitan Police Department on Thursday referred an 18-year-old male to prosecutors on suspicion of having used smart glasses to cheat on a Waseda University entrance exam.

The resident of Machida, Tokyo, allegedly used the glasses to photograph questions and seek answers via social media in February. He is said to have received answers to the questions from multiple persons and paid them several thousand yen each.

According to the MPD, the examinee used smart glasses to take photos of chemistry questions during an entrance exam for the university’s School of Creative Science and Engineering on Feb. 16. He is suspected of having obstructed the operation of the exam by sending images taken by the smart glasses to a smartphone hidden under his desk and then leaking them to outside parties through X, formerly Twitter.

The man was a third-year student at a private high school in Tokyo at the time, and purchased the smart glasses through a flea market app. The cameras attached to both ends of the glasses’ frames can take images and videos, and the device was set up to send images automatically to his smartphone.

Images of exam questions from subjects other than chemistry also have been found on the smartphone.

According to investigative sources, the student searched for words such as “difficult chemistry questions” and “good at chemistry” on X prior to the exam, and looked for people who appeared to perform well academically in the subject.

A few days before the exam, the student sent messages to several X accounts, saying things like “I want an online tutor” and “Teach me if I get any questions that I don’t understand,” the sources said. He allegedly sent images of such questions and asked for answers during the exam.

He had offered to reward those who would give him answers and paid several thousand yen per person via a smartphone app after the test, the sources said.

During voluntary questioning by police, the student reportedly told investigators: “I failed to pass [an entrance exam for] a national university I wanted to get into. I was worried that I would fail at other universities, so I came up with the idea of cheating.”

“I’m sorry for those who become involved in the cheating,” he was quoted as saying.

The incident came to light after a person who received an image from the examinee suspected he could be cheating and contacted Waseda University. The MPD believes that other persons provided answers to the exam questions without realizing they had been leaked.

The man also took an entrance exam for the university’s School of Commerce on Feb. 21, but an examiner noticed a camera attached to his smart glasses and reported the incident to the Totsuka Police Station.

Waseda University issued a statement on its website on Thursday, saying, “We will take strict action against any misconduct and strive to maintain a fair and equitable environment for entrance exams.”