AFLAC Headquarters building in Columbus, Ga. (Photo: John Disney/ALM)

Japan Post Holdings Co. Ltd. will be buying a big stake in Aflac Inc., but not a stake that’s all that big.

Japan Post plans to buy about 7% of Aflac’s outstanding shares of common stock through a trust, and enter into a strategic alliance agreement with Aflac, Aflac announced today.

When news about the Japan Post investment in Aflac stock surfaced last week, some reports suggested that Japan Post might be acquiring control over Aflac.

(Related: Japan Post May Invest $2.6 Billion in Aflac)

Aflac noted that the alliance agreement between the two companies limits Japan Post to owning 10% of Aflac’s stock.

Japan Post will be buying its shares through the open market, rather than from Aflac,.

Aflac did not say how much Japan Post expects to pay for the Aflac stock.

Japan Post already distributes cancer insurance, individual variable annuities and other products for Aflac in Japan, and the companies seem to be indicating that they are making the deal mainly to support the stability of that distribution relationship.

Daniel Amos, Aflac’s chairman, said in a statement that Aflac and Japan Post’s insurance unit have paid about 13 billion yen in cancer claims — or the equivalent of more than $100 million in claims — since they formed a partnership in 2008.

“We look forward to continuing this relationship in a way that benefits both companies and their stakeholders,’ Amos said.

The companies will be working on efforts to develop new products, and they will also continue to work together on cancer awareness, education and screening efforts, Aflac said.

— Read ACLI Praises U.S., E.U. Work On Japan PostGroups Unite To Blast Japan Postal Life Proposalon ThinkAdvisor.

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