A spring downpour last week wasn't enough to stop Norito Nagahama from heading to a central-Tokyo brokerage to study up on Japanese stocks.

"I'm here because I need to learn about investment," said Nagahama, 39. "You get little out of bank savings."

The biggest equity slump in the developed world isn't putting Nagahama off either. When he gets his next bonus, Nagahama is signing up for a Nippon Individual Savings Account as one of the 8.65 million people in Japan projected to do so by year's end. The program, which began Jan. 1 and gives temporary tax breaks on share gains, will draw as much as ¥5.5 trillion ($54 billion) into riskier assets this year, according to Nomura Research Institute Ltd.