In the latest sign of sagging confidence in Japan's financial system, Moody's Investors Service said Wednesday that it has downgraded credit and financial-strength ratings for five major Japanese banks and put another four on review for possible downgradings.

The news, coming days after Japanese banks announced huge bad-debt writeoffs for the fiscal year ended March 31, underscored the industry's vulnerability to further declines in domestic asset prices and to losses on loans extended to companies in Southeast Asia.

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