For some time now, financial services companies, especially American ones, have been warded off by Japan's lackluster economy, in particular its prolonged battle with deflation.

But that seems to be changing. Now, everyone wants a piece of the Japanese private banking pie. Asset management is finally being seen as a growth industry in Japan, now embracing financial sector deregulation. Near-zero interest rates are also prompting more and more Japanese to ditch the customary bank savings accounts for higher income-generating investments.

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