Random patdowns began at 30 international airports across Japan this week.
According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the random body searches are being conducted to check for chemical and plastic explosive materials that are not picked up by metal detectors, TBS reported.
Haneda Airport has already trialed body scanners that allowed inspectors to see through passengers' clothes, but because of the cost of the devices and concern over privacy issues, the ministry said scanners would not be used at airports nationwide.
On Monday, TV media showed passengers being subjected to patdowns after they had passed through metal detectors. Some older passengers said they were a little uncomfortable at being touched, but there were no objections, ministry officials were quoted as saying.
A Haneda Airport security official said the patdowns may make the pre-departure process slightly lengthier for some travelers. "However, the new system is ultimately for the safety of all passengers, so we are asking for the public's understanding and patience," he said.
In Japan, outgoing passengers are usually only subjected to patdowns if the metal detector goes off.© Japan Today