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Abe's arm-twisting of bureaucrats paved way for Avigan blunder

Prime minister sought May approval for a virus treatment, and experts kept his hopes up

Abe's enormous power over personnel appointments has stifled bureaucrats. 

TOKYO -- When Prime Minister Shinzo Abe learned that the Avigan flu medicine would not be approved for the coronavirus by the end of May, he was furious. "That's not what I was told," he lashed out at aides.

Abe had hoped that having a treatment would give the public some peace of mind after the state of emergency was lifted. And that became a public promise when he told a press conference on May 4 that Avigan would receive the go-ahead by the end of the month.

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