Standard & Poor's on Monday downgraded the credit of nine major Japanese companies.

The new ratings range from AA to BB-plus for Asahi Glass Co., Japan Airlines Ltd., Komatsu Ltd., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Mitsubishi Electric Corp., Mitsubishi Estate Corp., Mitsui Fudosan Co., NEC Corp., and Victor Co. of Japan.

In a report announcing the downgrades, S&P said economic conditions in Japan make it harder for banks to aid Japanese companies. The nation's companies must achieve better earnings and cash flow generation while reducing debt, the report said.

Japanese companies "have failed to implement the more focused, more disciplined strategies needed to succeed," the New York ratings firm said. Their plight is worsened by "the deteriorated capacity of banks and other financial institutions to provide assistance," it said.

- Compiled by David Weidner

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