New safety standards that would pave the way for the restart of Japan's nuclear plants were approved Wednesday by the country's Nuclear Regulation Authority. Reactors will be allowed to resume operations this year or early next year if they pass inspections. "I think we now have a framework that is up to international standards. What's more important is whether we can put the spirit in it during the inspection process," said Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the agency.

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