This article in the Japan Times highlights the treacherous state of public finances - in this case in Japan. Whilst on the face of it, Japan's budget deficit might look worse than Europe's, Japan is in a far better position because:
1. Japan has greater income earning capacity
2. Japan's debt is owed to Japanese citizens and corporations, which can taxed at higher rates, i.e. The government retains the power.
The positive news is that the Japanese government has actually managed to stabilise spending. The negative of course is that economic activity is not growing either. Expect Japanese interest rates to remain low for a long time. The flipside is that the Japan's government is between a rock and a hard place; they will soon have to do something about:
1. Raising taxes
2. Cutting spending
The disparity between local and international costs of capital preclude borrowing abroad.
Read more at the Japan Times website.