Tepco shareholders agree to nationalisation

A protester outside the shareholders' meeting on 27 June
Image caption There were protests outside the meeting and anti-nuclear motions debated inside it

Shareholders of Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), which operates the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, have approved the nationalisation of the company.

The government will put 1tn yen ($12.6bn; £8bn) into the utility company to prevent its collapse.

It brings its support for Tepco to at least 3.5tn yen since last year's earthquake caused a reactor meltdown.

Protesters outside the meeting demanded the company abandon nuclear power.

There was hot debate at the shareholders' meeting as to whether Tepco should restart its nuclear reactors, although a motion to scrap all seven reactors at Tepco's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, which is the world's biggest nuclear facility, was defeated.

Shareholders also questioned Tepco's proposal to raise household electricity prices by 10% because of rising costs.

It needs to buy more oil and liquefied natural gas while all of its nuclear reactors remain shut.

The BBC's Mariko Oi in Tokyo said: "In a country where public demonstrations used to be few and far between, anti-nuclear protests have become a usual sight.

"Activists were outside the event today and earlier this month, tens of thousands of them protested against the government's decision to restart two nuclear reactors at the Ohi power plant in Fukui Prefecture."

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said it was crucial to ensure that Japan's economy would not be affected by the lack of electricity, but public opinion remains split and anti-nuclear activists made their voice heard at Wednesday's meeting.

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