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Three former top executives at Tokyo Electric pleaded not guilty Friday to charges related to the triple core meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in 2011, which forced at least 150,000 people to evacuate and caused considerable damage to the prefecture’s economy.

The trial, which opened Friday at the Tokyo District Court, is the first in which criminal charges have been pressed in connection with the Fukushima disaster.

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