Around 42% of major companies in Japan expect the country's economy to slow down over the next 12 months, up from just 5% one year ago, as they struggle to cope with surging commodity costs and the yen's continued weakness, a Kyodo News survey showed Thursday.

The survey of 114 companies, including Toyota and SoftBank Group, found that Japanese blue chips are becoming increasingly pessimistic about the country's economic outlook, with the figure up from 12% at the beginning of the year.

Meanwhile, those that believe Japan's economy will expand dropped to 55% from 90% one year ago, and 84% earlier this year, as concerns weighed on hopes for a gradual recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.