The Japanese government has asked China to exempt its citizens from its anal COVID-19 tests as the procedure reportedly causes “psychological distress.”
Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said in a news conference that its government made the request through the Japanese Embassy in Beijing, however, it has yet to receive a response if it would change the testing procedure.
Kato said in the press conference that the Japanese government would continue to urge China to stop the test method on its citizens, and noted that it “has not been confirmed anywhere else in the world.”
Some Japanese employees in Beijing have reportedly criticized China for rolling out the coronavirus tests using anal swabs as it would “humiliate people and could violate their human rights and dignity.”
According to the Cabinet Secretary, it’s not known how many of its citizens have received this test method.
In response to the Japanese government’s request, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in a press conference that China will make “scientific-based adjustments” to its epidemic control measures in accordance with “relevant laws and regulations.”
In late January, as part of extreme measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, China deployed anal swab tests as a new type of COVID-19 testing method that could detect the virus more accurately, according to Chinese authorities.
The test includes inserting a cotton-tipped swab, measuring one to two inches in length, into the rectum. Chinese authorities claim that based on studies, the test could be better at detecting coronavirus in mild or asymptomatic cases.
However, some experts are skeptical with the use of anal swabs to test respiratory illness, noting that nose and throat swabs are more effective tests for COVID-19.