Moody’s Investors Service has taken Japanese securities issued or guaranteed by the government down a notch from its top Aaa ranking, the U.S. credit rating agency’s Japanese unit said on Tuesday.
Citing growing uncertainty over Japan’s economic health, Moody’s lowered foreign currency ceilings for Japanese bonds, bank deposits and notes to Aa1, it said. The downgrade is the first for Japanese government bonds.
Finance Minister Kiichi Miyazawa appeared somewhat hurt by the rating agency’s move.
“No comment,” he said tersely during a morning news conference, later adding “Japan’s government bonds are the most creditworthy in the world.”
Moody’s said long-term risks and concerns are developing because weak policymaking and economic problems have eroded the Japanese government’s fiscal strength and its financial system, which it termed “much weaker” than systems in other industrial countries.
Ripples from the downgrade traveled down through foreign and domestic currency securities issued by the Japan Development Bank, the Export-Import Bank of Japan, Japan Finance Corp. for Municipal Enterprises, and even the Tokyo Metropolitan Government — all of which were lowered to Aa1.
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