TOKYO – As milestones go, the US national debt surging past the US$31 trillion mark is especially personal for Haruhiko Kuroda and Yi Gang.

The leaders of the Bank of Japan (BOJ) and People’s Bank of China (PBOC), respectively, run the overseas institutions sitting on the largest stockpiles of US government bonds. Japan has $1.23 trillion and China roughly $1 trillion.

In all, Asia holds about $3.5 trillion of Washington’s IOUs – and at arguably the worst moment possible.

Between US inflation at 40-year highs, the Federal Reserve tightening the most aggressively in 28 years and the dollar trading at sky-high levels, news that Washington’s debt load is nearly twice the size of China’s annual output is decidedly unwelcome.