Japanese bonds are highly liquid, have strong credit ratings and are a safe addition to most portfolios. But getting concentrated access to Japanese bonds through exchange-traded funds (ETFs) is surprisingly difficult. As of March 2016, there are two listed securities that provide focused long exposure to Japanese bond markets. Neither of these options give investors any yield. If an investor wants to have long exposure to Japanese bonds and have that investment yield as something other than 0%, then he or she needs to invest in more generalized international bond funds.

Many international bond funds invest in Japanese bonds, but many of these funds tend to give the country a low weight in their portfolios. The following three funds are available ETFs that allocate a large portion of their assets to fixed income products focused on the Japanese market. These funds also provide yield for investors looking to increase the income component of their portfolios.

Vanguard Total International Bond ETF

The Vanguard Total International Bond ETF (NASDAQ: BNDX) invests in foreign investment-grade government, corporate and securitized bonds. It attempts to track the performance of the Barclays Global Aggregate ex-USD Float Adjusted RIC Capped Index (USD Hedged) and employs hedging strategies to mitigate the risks of currency fluctuations. It is suitable for investors who want broad exposure to non-U.S. dollar-denominated investment-grade bonds. As of January 2016, the fund's number-one weighted country was Japan at 22.0%. The next three weighted countries were France, Germany and the United Kingdom, which comprised 30.2% of the portfolio. As of March 2016, the yield on BNDX was 1.56%, and its expense ratio was 0.15%.

iShares 1-3 Year International Treasury Bond ETF

The iShares 1-3 Year International Treasury Bond ETF (NASDAQ: ISHG) aims to mimic the performance of an index composed of non-U.S. developed market government bonds with remaining maturities between one and three years. The fund's top weighted country, at 22.44%, was Japan. The next top three weighted countries, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, comprised 25.36% of the portfolio. As of March 2016, the yield on ISHG was 0.09%, and its expense ratio was 0.35%.

iShares International Treasury Bond ETF

The iShares International Treasury Bond ETF (NASDAQ: IGOV) aims to mimic the performance of an index composed of non-U.S. developed market government bonds and gives investors access to a broad range of international treasury bonds with maturities ranging from less than one year to over 20 years. Of total investments, 21.77% was allocated to Japanese bonds. The next three highest weighted countries were France, Italy and Germany, which comprised 19.24% of the portfolio. As of March 2016, the yield on IGOV was 0.10%, and its expense ratio was 0.35%.

Concentrated Exposure to Japanese Bonds

Even though the following two securities do not provide yield, it is important to list them, as they are the only two ETNs that provided focused long exposure to Japanese bonds, as of March 2016.

The DB Japanese Govt Bond Futures ETN (NYSEARCA: JGBL) seeks, net of expenses, to replicate the returns of the Deutsche Bank USD Japanese Government Bond Futures Index. The index measures the performance of a long position in 10-year JGB futures. The underlying assets of 10-year JGB futures are Japan-government issued debt, with a remaining term to maturity of seven to 11 years. As of March 2016, JGBL's 52-week range was $21.43 to $22.89, and its three-year annualized return was 2.37%.

The DB 3x Japanese Govt Bond Futures ETN (NYSEARCA: JGBT) is very similar to JGBL, but it seeks to provide 300% of the performance of the Deutsche Bank USD Japanese Government Bond Futures Index. As of March 2016, JGBT's 52-week range was $24.22 to $31.39, and its three-year annualized return was 7.50%.

Also, if investors want focused short exposure to Japanese bonds, they can invest in either the PowerShares DB 3x Inverse Japanese Govt. Bond Futures ETN (NYSEARCA: JGBD) or the PowerShares DB Inverse Japanese Govt. Bond Futures ETN (NYSEARCA: JGBS).