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A survey released Sunday found that 58.2 percent of respondents do not approve of the government’s handling of the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and that 39.3 percent do.

The poll found 57.9 percent approve of the way the state has supported disaster victims in northeast and eastern Japan hit by the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

The nationwide telephone survey conducted Saturday and Sunday also found that the approval rate for Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s Cabinet came to 28.3 percent, up 8.4 points from the previous survey in mid-February.

A total of 67.5 percent said they support to varying extents a temporary tax increase to secure funds to help recovery efforts for disaster-hit areas. The breakdown was 20.1 percent showing outright support and 47.4 percent showing luke-warm backing for such a move.

As for the government’s response to the Fukushima nuclear plant, which was severely damaged by the quake and tsunami, 19.6 percent said they do not approve of it and 38.6 percent said they do not approve of it very much. Only 4.9 percent expressed considerable approval and 34.4 percent said they value the government’s handling of the situation to a certain extent.

In terms of central government relief measures for disaster victims and support for disaster-hit areas, 10.0 percent said they considerably approve of the moves and 47.9 percent said they approve to a certain extent. In contrast, 31.9 percent said they do not value the government response very much and 7.3 percent they do not approve of it.

Asked about their evaluation of Kan as the country’s leader, a combined 63.7 percent thought he was not exercising sufficient leadership.

The phone survey covered 1,432 households with eligible voters and valid responses were received from 1,011 individuals.

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