Japanese law does not allow overseas financial institutions not registered within Japan to make sales or promotes publicly toward Japanese customers living in Japan. When AIC started their support service, they asked the Financial Services Agency (FSA) with regard to this legal issue by a "No Action Letter", an official inquiry procedure for venture businesses.
The FSA's response is that, as far as helping to open an account with an overseas financial company, if there is no relationship of rights and duties with the overseas financial institution, then no registration is required. This means that AIC is allowed to introduce overseas banks and securities companies to Japanese citizens and help them open accounts with those companies while not being required to register with the FSA.
However Japanese law also prohibits any kind of financial products, unit trusts, hedge funds, unlisted shares etc., to be promoted publicly without registration in Japan toward Japanese living in Japan. This means that sales of overseas financial products are not allowed, even if through a registered financial advisor.
This is the reason why AIC help their members open accounts overseas but do not assist in the purchase of overseas financial products.
You can see AIC's "No Action Letter" and the FSA's response on the FSA Website (Japanese).
(July 1st 2007)