New York City Comptroller Elizabeth Holtzman announced yesterday that she has scheduled a trip to Japan in mid-January to meet with investors interested in buying city bonds.

The trip is designed in large part to help market a planned deal to sell yen-denominated city bonds to investors in Japan, officials in the comptroller's office say. In August, city officials announced they delayed a sale of $120 million in yen-denominated debt scheduled to take place in the fall because of unfavorable market conditions.

"Broadening the pool of investors in city bonds has the result of lowering interest rates, which means taxpayers can save millions of dollars over the life of the bonds," according to a press release announcing the trip.

Officials in the comptroller's office said the trip "is distinct" from one planned to Japan in February by Mayor David N. Dinkins, who will join officials from the New York Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The mayor's trip has been described broadly as an "economic development mission."

On her trip, Holtzman will meet with Japanese bankers an(i government officials purely for financial reasons, said Darcy Bradbury, deputy comptroller for finance, who will join Holtzman.

Holtzman will spend the week of Jan. 11 in Japan. Bradbury said the comptroller also will meet with Japanese banks in an effort to drum up letters of credit to increase the city's variable-rate debt program. Additionally, Holtzman will meet with firms that have substantial real estate interests in the city.

While the yen deal may be delayed, Bradbury said that interest rate levels in recent weeks have made the deal more attractive. She said the yen deal could be part of the city's next general obligation bond transaction in February or March if rates continue to make the transaction cost-effective.

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