ETF's in Japan (update 27.02.2010)
Japan is adopting a follower strategy when it comes to ETF's. With a slow pace ETF's on the Japanese indices were introduced and gradually new indices which seem to be attractive for the retail audience are added. Nevertheless there are only two major player and those are the two domestic security houses Nomura and Daiwa. Those both companies are facing the dilemma that a success of ETF's would eat up into asset managment fees of their 'own' actively managed funds and the need not to ignore the appetite and the possible coming up competition of foreign players like ishares or in the future hopefully companies like Deutsche with x-trackers ETF's. The fees for ETF's in Japan are not that high, but could be lower if the replication of indices would be made easier from the regulators. I expect a jump for ETF's within 2010, because it is to be imagined that the foreign banks will not leave this big market out of their strategy.
Emerging markets are already covered. The latest ETF will cover India. Since February 2010 a MSCI Emerging market ETF is also available.
The latest development is the focus on commodity ETFs. S&P had a conference on this in Tokyo end of February and that was perceived quite well.
In case you want to buy an ETF on the Nikkei in Europe I would recommend:
You can buy the ETF directly on the stock exchange. Be aware of the EUR-JPY exchange risk inheritent in this ETF.