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Abe tangles with health ministry bureaucrats over virus response

Officials with medical licenses resist prime minister's plans for testing and treatment

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed frustration with the slow pace of coronavirus testing. (Photo by Uichiro Kasai)

TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push to speed the authorization of the flu drug Avigan as a coronavirus treatment has been slowed as the process gets caught up in bureaucratic red tape.

As early as February, Abe's right-hand man, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, directed the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare to work quickly toward official approval of the medication developed by a Fujifilm Holdings subsidiary.

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