Standard & Poor's has cut Japan's sovereign rating outlook to 'negative' following the devastation caused by last month's earthquake and tsunami.
The ratings agency, which slashed its rating on the US to the same level two weeks ago, has downgraded the country's sovereign debt because of the impact the crisis will have on its debt pile.
Japan is already the most indebted of the developed nations, and S&P expects the cost of rebuilding could go as high as 50 trillion yen (£372bn).
The agency also warned if Japan's debt levels continue to rise, it could take further action.
"We revised the outlook on the long-term rating on Japan to negative, to reflect the potential for a downgrade, if fiscal deterioration materially exceeds these estimates in the absence of greater fiscal consolidation," S&P said.
S&P's forecast is double what the Japanese government initially estimated it would cost to rebuild infrastructure in the affected areas.
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