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Ruling against Tepco sets high bar for nuclear safety

Court rules government and utility negligent, but awards scanty damages

Following a ruling by the Maebashi District Court, lawyers for the plaintiffs hold banners reading "central government found liable" and "partial victory" outside the courthouse on March 17.

TOKYO -- In ruling that Japan's government and the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant could have predicted and prevented the March 2011 nuclear accident, a district court has established a tough standard for risk mitigation at nuclear power operations -- one other judges may or may not support.

The Maebashi District Court on Friday found that the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings were negligent in preparing measures to guard against the major tsunami that set off meltdowns at the plant, rejecting the argument that the event could not have been anticipated.

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