Securitization has taken off in Japan over the past year, but not in a way that is satisfactory to all asset-backed players in Tokyo. That's because domestic issuance remains the cheapest option for Japanese issuers and domestic securities firms are therefore winning the bulk of the business.

"The market has really changed from a year or so ago," conceded one securitization head at a global bank in Tokyo. "The problem for us is that plain agency securitization is getting away from foreigners, and Japanese banks have taken it over. There are some foreign firms that are doing deals now, but this year will be a very telling year for most."

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