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Re the IRA, I pay taxes in the U.S., enough to be able to make the IRA contribution/deduction. That is probably where the confusion lies. If you are not paying tax because of other deductions, obviously the IRA deduction should not apply.

I am afraid I cannot help you on the accountant front. I do my own tax return in Japan. In the U.S., I use a place outside of Detroit and they do a very competent job on the U.S. side but were not aware, for instance, that capital gains taxes for myself were changed due to the tax treaty between Japan and the U.S. The person you found on line could be a very good accountant.

As for brokers, I use a broker out of Hong Kong, that used to be Lehman Brothers until they sold their retail business to Prudential, who sold it to another bank that got bought out by Fortis. How come? I worked at Lehman and it is my best friend that covers my account there. His coverage of my interests and my wife's is great. He is good at stock picking and has recommended great trades that went up. Most of it in U.S. names. But Fortis' platform is old school. Let's just say they are not really on line. The commissions are very high and the hurdle to be able to open an account is several hundred thousand dollars. Same issue with Merrill, Lehman, Morgan Stanley, etc. E Trade offers you several markets to trade from their U.S. platform, including Japan. I think a local on line broker in Japan is much more straightforward and going to be cheaper with commissions. But it is not going to be in English. I just looked up E Trade Japan's website and there is no English at all. A different on line local broker may have English, but you will have to let me know if you find it.

I do not know anything about Banner Japan or FPI, sorry.
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