TOKYO: Ninety-eight of Japan's 100 largest corporations believe the nation's economy is in decline, a figure that has soared from just 24 in June, reports a survey by one of the country's biggest newspapers The Asahi Shimbun

A total of 74 firms agreed that the economy was "deteriorating", compared with only three in June, while a further 24 said it was "going down mildly", up from 21 in the earlier poll. 

Almost 70% of participants in the twice-yearly survey also believe that the financial climate is not likely to improve until 2010 at earliest.

None of the interviewees, all of whom are company presidents or work at an executive level, said the economy was either "expanding" or "expanding mildly", the same result as the previous report. 

In all, 70% of participants said the global financial crisis was having an adverse impact on their operations, with 69 respondents said the same for the US downturn, and 37 for the slowdown in emerging markets like and China and India.

Sony president Ryoji Chubachi has already warned that the Japanese economy was in a "negative spiral", while the figures in Asahi's survey are the worst since 2001, when 92% of the companies surveyed said the economy was shrinking.

Data sourced from The Asahi Shimbun (Japan); additional content by WARC staff