TOKYO (AFP) – Almost three-quarters of Japanese respondents to a newspaper poll published Tuesday favour a gradual phase-out of nuclear energy in the wake of the Fukushima atomic accident.

The Asahi Shimbun daily said in its weekend opinion poll that only 14 percent were against such a gradual reduction.

The poll also showed 64 percent of respondents believed "natural energy" such as wind and solar power would replace nuclear power in the future, while 24 percent said they did not think so.

The Fukushima nuclear plant, on the northeastern coast facing the Pacific, has leaked radiation since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami crippled cooling systems at the plant, leading to reactor meltdowns.

The worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986 has forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from their houses, businesses and farms in a 20-kilometre (12-mile) radius around the plant.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan has announced a full review of energy policy, including plans for more reactors, and a push to boost renewables to at least 20 percent of the electricity supply by the 2020s.

The Asahi telephone survey was carried out Saturday and Sunday, covering 3,394 voters across the nation, with 58 percent giving valid responses.