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58% do not approve of gov't handling of nuclear power plant crisis

TOKYO, March 27 — A total of 58.2 percent of respondents do not approve of the government's handling of the nuclear crisis at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, while 39.3 percent expressed approval, according to the latest Kyodo News survey released Sunday.

On the other hand, 57.9 percent said they approve of the way the state has dealt with disaster-victim support in northeastern and eastern Japan hit by the catastrophic earthquake and ensuing 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 percentage points from the previous survey in mid-February.

A total of 67.5 percent said they support to varying extents a temporary tax rate increase to secure funds to help recovery efforts for the disaster-hit areas. The breakdown was 20.1 percent who expressed outright support and 47.4 percent who said they somewhat backed such a move.

As for the government's response to the nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture which was severely damaged by the quake and tsunami, 19.6 percent said they do not approve of it at all 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 the central government's 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 at all. (PNA/Kyodo)

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