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Polls Find Japanese Unhappy With Government's Crisis Response

A boy wearing a mask holds a sign as he marches during an anti-nuclear protest in Tokyo, April 16, 2011.

New polls show more than two thirds of Japanese disapprove of the government's handling of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The polls, published Monday in three major Japanese newspapers, also found broad support for higher taxes to fund reconstruction efforts, but deep divisions over whether the country should continue to rely on nuclear power.

The polls, carried by the Mainichi, Nikkei and Asahi newspapers, all found approval for Prime Minister Naoto Kan's government has risen slightly since February, but still remains below 30 percent.

Asked specifically about the handling of the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant, the number saying they disapproved ranged between 67 and 70 percent.

The Nikkei poll found the highest level of acceptance for new taxes at 69 percent. The idea was embraced by 59 percent in the Asahi poll and 58 percent in the Mainichi.

On nuclear power, 41 percent of respondents told Asahi they wanted nuclear power plants reduced or eliminated, while 56 percent favored keeping or increasing the plants. But the Mainichi poll found only 40 percent wanting to maintain the plants at existing levels while 54 percent wanted to scrap or reduce them. Nikkei did not ask the question.

The polling was conducted between Friday and Sunday. Asahi said its survey did not include residents of the three prefectures that were hardest hit by the March 11 disasters.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.