TOKYO (AP) _ Japan's Asahi Mutual Life Insurance Co. and Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. of the U.S. formally announced Friday that they will form an asset management alliance.

Investment advisory units of the two life insurance companies will set up a joint venture company in June, with the Japanese company holding 51 percent and the U.S. company 49 percent of the venture's 50 million yen capital ($419,950).

The new company will start managing pension assets of Asahi Life group companies totaling around $1 billion, and seek to explore business opportunities in the investment trust market, the two companies said.

Asahi Mutual and MetLife will also continue talks for further expanding the cooperation between them.

Separately, Asahi Mutual said its investment advisory unit will be headed by Tadashi Takubo, the former president of Nomura Asset Management Co., starting in April.