MetLife, the largest life insurer in the US, has agreed with Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance to continue the joint venture business Mitsui Sumitomo CitiInsurance Life Insurance Co Ltd in Japan as part of its acquisition of certain Citigroup insurance assets.

The agreement between the two companies comes at a time when Metlife is poised to take over of all of Citigroup Inc’s international insurance businesses, which would include Citigroup’s interest in the Mitsui Sumitomo CitiInsurance Life Insurance partnership, which Mitsui and Citigroup set up in 2001. The agreement will enable Metlife to enter the Japanese insurance market for the first time.

According to the US insurer, Metlife and Mitsui have concluded a letter of intent to continue the business of Mitsui Sumitomo CitiInsurance Life, which is Japan’s second largest distributor of annuities, subject to the closing of Metlife’s planned acquisition of the relevant Citigroup assets and the receipt of all necessary governmental approvals.

Under the terms of the agreement Mitsui Sumitomo CitiInsurance Life will remain 51% owned by Mitsui and 49% owned by MetLife. It is expected that completion of MetLife’s acquisition will occur this coming summer.