A majority of Japanese support changing the island nation's laws to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.

According to a poll of 1,259 people conducted in March, 51 percent of respondents support such unions.

Support was highest among respondents in their 20s and 30s, exceeding 70 percent. But support declined among respondents in their 60s and 70s, 38 and 24 percent respectively.

The poll was conducted by researchers from universities and the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, Bloomberg Business reported.

The Japan News reported that a majority of respondents said they are uncomfortable with sexual conduct between men and would feel resistance to male gay friends.

“Many people can accept romantic feelings between same-sex people, but there is strong intolerance to such feelings of familiar people and same-sex sexual conduct,” the researchers are quoted as saying.

(Related: Tokyo ward Shibuya to recognize marriages of gay couples.)