Even though it has not been determined how contributions to the Japanese version of 401(k) plans will be taxed, U.S. companies interested in taking advantage of the imminent introduction of the plans in Japan should be forming alliances now, according to participants at a recent conference in Tokyo.

The Japanese Diet is still working out the tax implications of Japan's planned introduction of its version of 401(k) savings plans in the fall of 2000, according to Yuji Tushima, a Liberal Democratic Party member of Japan's House of Representatives. Tushima, chairman of the Diet's subcommittee on private annuities, spoke at a gathering of mutual fund executives Dec. 8.

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