Tokyo has requested Beijing stop subjecting Japanese nationals in China to anal swab testing for Covid-19, urging it use alternative methods instead. The procedure is said to inflict “great psychological pain” on test subjects.
The coronavirus testing issue was brought up by Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato during a press conference on Monday.
Some Japanese reported to our embassy in China that they received anal swab tests, which caused a great psychological pain.
Japan has already requested Beijing halt the controversial testing, sticking to other methods instead. So far, China has not responded whether it will change the procedure for the Japanese citizens or not, Kato admitted.
It remains unclear how many Japanese citizens have been affected by the unconventional probing for coronavirus in China.
The intrusive anal swab testing was introduced by Chinese authorities earlier this year. The method is said to be a more accurate way to detect the virus than the conventional nose swabbing, widely used around the world amid the pandemic. The procedure involves insertion of a long cotton swab three to five centimeters into the rectum, according to China’s National Health Commission.
The controversial testing procedure has already caused some diplomatic discomfort between the US and China. The issue was brought up by the US outlet Vice late in February, which cited a US State Department spokesperson saying Washington had protested the “undignified” practice directly to Beijing after a number of diplomats were subjected to anal tests. The diplomats have been also instructed to “decline this test if it is asked of them, as was done in the past.”
Beijing, however, denied anal-probing any US diplomats at all.
“To my knowledge… China has never required US diplomatic staff stationed in China to conduct anal swab tests,” a foreign ministry spokesman told a news briefing last week.
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