Photo/IllutrationThe Asahi Shimbun

Fifty-seven percent of citizens nationwide are against restarting nuclear power plants, nearly double the 29 percent who want reactors brought back online, according to an Asahi Shimbun survey.

The results of the telephone survey conducted on Oct. 15 and 16 show that more than half of the public has remained opposed to the resumption of nuclear plant operations since an Asahi Shimbun survey in June 2013, when 58 percent expressed opposition.

In an Asahi survey in February this year, 54 percent of respondents disagreed with plans to fire up the reactors.

The support rate for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe fell to 48 percent from 52 percent in the previous survey conducted in September. The nonsupport rate was 32 percent, up from 29 percent.

The Abe administration has been pushing for the resumption of nuclear plant operations. Currently, only two of Japan’s dozens of reactors are online under stricter safety standards set after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Around 45 percent of respondents who support Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party oppose reactor restarts, eclipsing the 42 percent of LDP supporters who agree with the nuclear policy.

Among supporters of the main opposition Democratic Party, 78 percent are against rebooting nuclear reactors, according to the survey.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents who do not support any particular party want the reactors to remain idle, compared with 24 percent in favor of bringing nuclear plants back online.

The survey showed that younger people and males were more likely to support restarts of nuclear power plants.

Sixty percent of males 18 to 29 years old were in favor, compared with 30 percent in opposition, according to the survey.

The Asahi Shimbun conducted the latest survey through the Random Digit Dialing method, in which survey takers call both fixed and mobile telephone numbers randomly selected by computer. Parts of Fukushima Prefecture were excluded from the survey.

Among the 1,870 households contacted that had at least one eligible voter, 1,000 people, or 53 percent, gave valid responses.