Abe Regrets 2 Returnees' Refusal of Virus Tests

Politics Society Lifestyle

Tokyo, Jan. 30 (Jiji Press)--Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday that it is "very regrettable" that two Japanese returnees from Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, refused to have virus tests.

Officials "tried for a long time" to persuade them to accept virus tests as the government has no legal grounds to forcibly conduct such tests, Abe told a House of Councillors committee meeting.

The two were among the first batch of Japanese nationals brought back home on a government-chartered plane on Tuesday.

The prime minister said the government is now asking Japanese citizens still in the locked-down Chinese city and surrounding areas, before they board additional charter flights to return home, to agree to undergo virus tests.

During the Upper House committee meeting, Abe agreed to the view expressed by an opposition lawmaker that it is problematic that Taiwan was not invited to an emergency meeting of the World Health Organization on the coronavirus outbreak.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press