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Japans PM says country must tackle debt to avoid rate cut

Japan’s prime minister, attempting to build support for painful fiscal reforms, said Saturday that the country should be alarmed by ratings cuts in Europe and must tackle its massive public debts to avoid becoming the next target.

Japan’s debt is more than twice its gross domestic product, higher than any of the struggling European economies whose fiscal problems have set off a eurozone crisis that has reverberated in markets around the world. Japan’s credit rating was downgraded last year, and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said it could be further harmed if the country is seen as dragging its feet on reforms.

Noda commented during a live TV talk show following ratings agency Standard & Poor’s downgrade of nine European countries, including France, one of the strongest economies in the eurozone.

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