Standard & Poor's Downgrades Japan

Ratings agencies evaluate the risk of government bonds, and a downgrade can make it more expensive for a government to borrow on international financial markets. Japan's economy minister called the move by global credit ratings agency Standard & Poor's "regrettable."

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

NPR's business news starts with a downgrade for a major economy.

(Soundbite of music)

MONTAGNE: Japan, now the world's third-largest economy, was downgraded today by the global credit ratings agency Standard & Poor's. S&P says it lowered Japan's double-A rating notch because of concerns over rising government debt. Ratings agencies evaluate the risk of government bonds, and a downgrade can make it more expensive for a government to borrow on international financial markets. Japan's economy minister called the move regrettable.

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