Slightly more Japanese oppose allowing married couples to use separate family names than those who support the move, a Cabinet Office survey showed.
The poll, conducted in December and released Saturday, also highlighted a generation gap, with supporters outnumbering opponents among people in their 50s or younger while the scales tip the other way for those in their 60s or older.
The survey found 36.4 percent were opposed to permitting a married couple to use separate surnames by revising the Civil Code, up 1.4 percentage point from the previous poll in 2006. Those in favor of a legal amendment came to 35.5 percent, down 1.1 point.
The Cabinet Office canvassed 5,000 adults, of whom 60.8 percent provided valid replies.
The number of women in their 20s supporting separate surnames rose 6.9 points to 53.3 percent and that of women in their 30s jumped 7.9 points to 48.1 percent.
The survey also showed that 59.8 percent of the respondents, up 3.8 points, felt a system of separate surnames would not affect the sense of family unity.