Tokyo has asked Beijing to stop giving anal swab tests to Japanese citizens when they enter China — because the exam for COVID-19 causes mental anguish.

“Some Japanese reported to our embassy in China that they received anal swab tests, which caused a great psychological pain,” Katsunobu Kato, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, told a news conference.

Kato said the government had not yet received a response from Beijing about changing the procedure, adding that it was not known how many Japanese citizens received such tests for the coronavirus, Reuters reported.

Some cities in China were using anal samples to detect potential infections as the country stepped up screening to make sure no potential infection was missed.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Beijing’s testing methods were “science-based” and “in accordance with the changes in the epidemic situation as well as relevant laws and regulations.”

Travelers walk through Beijing Capital International Airport ahead of Lunar New Year.Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Japanese request comes soon after the US griped that the Chinese government has used anal swabs to test American diplomats.

Beijing has insisted the butt checks were made in “error,” though the Chinese Foreign Ministry also denied that US diplomats had been required to take the anal tests.

Tests using anal swabs can avoid missing infections as viral traces in fecal samples or anal swabs could remain detectable longer than in those from the respiratory tract, Li Tongzeng, a respiratory diseases doctor in Beijing, claimed to state TV in January.



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