TOKYO — Japan's financial watchdog on Monday ordered the local unit of Lehman Brothers to suspend operations after the U.S. investment bank filed for bankruptcy.

The Financial Services Agency said the decision was made after Lehman Brothers Japan Inc. reported to the agency that its U.S. parent company, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., might default in the long run.

The 158-year-old investment bank filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from its creditors on Monday. Lehman was crippled by $60 billion in soured real-estate holdings and was unable to find an investment partner to throw it a lifeline.

Japan's Financial Services Agency said in a statement that Lehman's Japanese operations — except those that involve returning assets to customers — would be suspended for 12 days starting Monday.

Earlier in the day, the agency issued a separate statement ordering Lehman's Japanese unit to take "full measures" to protect investors and assets after it filed for bankruptcy.

Neither the agency nor the Japanese unit of Lehman could be reached for comment Monday, a public holiday.