TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's trade and economy minister said Friday that the government is watching for possible fallout from Chrysler's bankruptcy caused by damage to Japanese parts makers.
"We must take appropriate measures if they are being hurt," Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshihiro Nikai told reporters.
Nikai promised the government will "respond appropriately," but declined to elaborate.
Government aid to troubled suppliers, mostly small and mid-sized companies in Japan, remains a possibility at a time that overall assistance to troubled businesses has been earmarked in response to the recession set off by the U.S. financial crisis.
Standard & Poor's Rating Services said Friday that it would not change its ratings for Japanese automakers and suppliers due to the Chrysler bankruptcy.
It said some Japanese suppliers may not be paid for past business with the U.S. carmaker, but "their direct exposure to Chrysler is relatively small compared with the size of their overall businesses."
Chrysler, the third-largest U.S. automaker, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in New York on Thursday after months of surviving on government loans. It is hoping to reorganize its business and build cleaner cars through an alliance with Italian automaker Fiat.
Japanese parts suppliers do business with major manufacturers such as Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., and also count on business with American companies, and have set up offices and plants in the U.S.
Losing business with Chrysler and the possible broader impact of the bankruptcy on the entire American auto industry could become a problem for Japanese suppliers already struggling amid hard times.
"There are quite a number of people and companies in Japan that are closely linked with Chrysler's business," Nikai said.