Tokyo is asking China to stop administering anal swab tests for COVID-19 on Japanese citizens due to the “great psychological pain” caused by the procedure, a government spokesperson said, per The Guardian

Katsunobu Kato, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, said the government will continue issuing a request to halt China’s invasive testing protocol until they receive word that an alternative method has been put in place. “Some Japanese reported to our embassy in China that they received anal swab tests, which caused a great psychological pain,” Kato said in a news conference. 

Last week, a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry publicly denied a report that U.S. diplomats were forced to undergo an anal swab test upon entry into the country. “To my knowledge… China has never required U.S. diplomatic staff stationed in China to conduct anal swab tests,” Zhao Lijian said during a daily news briefing in Beijing, per Reuters. 

A spokesperson for the United States claims they had received assurances that their diplomats were exempt from anal swab testing. 

The Times UK reports China will require all foreign travelers to be subjected to an anal swab test, a procedure that the country believes to be more accurate since traces of the virus remain more detectable in fecal matter for a longer period of time than in the respiratory tract. China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin stood by the effectiveness and accuracy of the test in his response to Japan’s request, saying the anal swab method is “science-based” and “in accordance with the changes in the epidemic situation as well as relevant laws and regulations.”