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Japan aims to draw novice investors with new NISA accounts

Low commissions dampen enthusiasm among financial service providers

Financial services companies have begun offering seminars on the new NISA accounts, such as this one in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward.

TOKYO -- Japanese financial institutions began taking applications for installment-type Nippon Individual Savings Account program, popularly known as NISA, on Oct. 2, as they try to encourage new investors to build up their long-term assets through low-cost investment trusts. Banks and brokerages are trying to attract younger clients with little or no investment experience.

The installment-type NISA is a tax-exempt individual savings vehicle. Under the program, investors make monthly contributions to low-cost investment trusts approved by the Financial Services Agency. Investors can contribute up to 400,000 yen a year to the trusts and with the gains tax exempt for 20 years, starting from the first year of contributions.

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