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Tepco's turnaround plan a dubious roadmap to recovery

Prospects dim for nuclear restart, assistance from other Japanese utilities

Tepco's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant remains offline despite efforts toward a restart.

TOKYO -- Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings' latest reform plan rests on rosy assumptions about the willingness of peers to assist in restructuring and the chances of a nuclear restart, leaving doubts about whether the utility will be able to pay its hefty nuclear cleanup bill.

Tepco and the state-backed organization that is the utility's majority shareholder outlined updated plans for a corporate overhaul Wednesday. The company is looking to drastically restructure operations, including integrating certain businesses with those at other utilities. Tepco had previously been reluctant to join hands with peers. But that go-it-alone mentality could stand in the way of an earnings recovery, an expert panel at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry advising Tepco's reform efforts warned in a report late last year.

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