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Japan asks China to stop anal COVID-19 tests on Japanese citizens

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    Kyodo News

Tokyo, Japan   /   Mon, March 1, 2021   /   06:55 pm
Japan asks China to stop anal COVID-19 tests on Japanese citizens Newly appointed Japan's chief cabinet secretary Katsunobu Kato, delivers a speech during a press conference at the Prime Minister's office in Tokyo on September 16, 2020. Japan's parliament votes on September 16 for the country's next prime minister, with powerful cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga all but assured the top job, as Shinzo Abe ends his record-breaking tenure. (Agence France Presse/Charly TRIBALLEAU )

The Japanese government has requested China not to subject Japanese citizens entering the country to anal COVID-19 tests after receiving complaints of "psychological distress" from some of them, the top government spokesman said Monday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said the government has made the request through the Japanese Embassy in Beijing, although it has not been informed of any change in China's policy on how it conducts the polymerase chain reaction tests for the novel coronavirus.

Kato said at a regular press conference the government will continue to urge China to exempt its citizens from such a test method, which is used on some of those quarantined or entering China, noting it "has not been confirmed anywhere else in the world."

Already the United States has protested to China after learning some US officials were subjected to the testing method, according to CNN.

China begun using anal swabs to test those it considers at high risk of contracting Covid-19, state TV reported in late January with social media users and travelers squirming over the invasive procedure which doctors say can be more effective in detecting the virus.

Officials took anal swabs from residents of neighbourhoods with confirmed Covid-19 cases in Beijing last week, broadcaster CCTV said, while those in designated quarantine facilities have also undergone the test, AFP reported in January.

The anal swabs method "can increase the detection rate of infected people" as traces of the virus linger longer in the anus than in the respiratory tract, Li Tongzeng, a senior doctor from Beijing's You'an Hospital, told CCTV.