Ja­pan’s credit rat­ing low­ered

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS -

Fitch Rat­ings has low­ered Ja­pan’s credit rat­ing as the coun­try con­tin­ues to wres­tle with stag­ger­ing debt.

Fitch said the gov­ern­ment did not in­clude suf­fi­cient mea­sures in its bud­get to re­place a sales tax hike it put off in the cur­rent fis­cal year, which ends next March.

Ja­pan’s debt is the largest among de­vel­oped na­tions and more than twice the size of its econ­omy. The coun­try even­tu­ally has to boost taxes to cover ris­ing costs for health­care and el­der care as the av­er­age age in the na­tion rises.

But a sales tax in­crease last spring hurt con­sumer and busi­ness spend­ing as the Ja­panese econ­omy slipped into a re­ces­sion. That led Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe to put off a sec­ond hike.

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