Both State Street Corp. and Mellon Bank Corp. declined to comment Monday on a report that they are considering buying the asset management unit of Yamaichi Securities Ltd., the failed Japanese brokerage.

The Japanese daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun identified the unit as Yamaichi International Capital Management Co. The Yamaichi group owns a majority stake in Yamaichi International, which reportedly had $20 billion of funds under management at Sept. 30.

About half of that is said to be pension funds.

U.S. banks and securities firms have been keen to expand their fund management activities in Japan since a recent liberalization of Japanese banking laws that allow foreign institutions greater leeway.

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