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Tokyo Uproar

International Outlook: GLOBAL WRAPUP


A Moody's Investors Service study on Japan's fragile banking system has sparked a furor in Tokyo. Moody's new rating system--from A for excellent to E for desperate--suggests that Japan's debt-laden banks are in more trouble than originally thought.

Moody's assigned 10 of Japan's 50 major banks its lowest rating. Japanese bank execs were quick to criticize the ranking, which drove the Nikkei down by 1.4% on Aug. 21.

But Moody's isn't the only worried watchdog. Standard & Poor's, a unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies, publisher of BUSINESS WEEK, has placed five banks on its Creditwatch list for a possible downgrade. The International Monetary Fund has also found Japan to be slow in tackling the crisis.EDITED BY ROSE BRADY

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