Fitch Ratings on Tuesday downgraded Japan's sovereign rating by one notch to A+ with a negative outlook, citing the nation's rising public debt.
Fitch lowered its credit ratings for the long-term government bonds from the previous AA- to A+, the fifth highest investment grade that Estonia and Slovakia share with. It is the first time since November 2002 that Fitch has cut its rating for the Japanese government bonds.
Fitch cut Japan's long-term foreign currency rating by two levels from AA to A+ and local currency rating by one notch from AA- to A+, respectively.
"The downgrades and negative outlooks reflect growing risks over Japan's sovereign credit profile as a result of high and rising public debt ratios," the rating agency said in a statement.
"The country's fiscal consolidation plan looks leisurely, relative even to other fiscally challenged high-income countries, and implementation is subject to political risk," it warned.
Japan's public debt is projected to rise to 239 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by the end of this year, the highest of any country, Fitch said.