Early this month, Apple started gauging potential demand for the yen-denominated bonds among regional banks, life insurers and other institutional investors. The bonds will target Japanese investors but will likely be sold to overseas investors as well.
Despite having over $200 billion in cash, Apple still issues bonds so that it can procure funds at low interest rates, which helps create a tax shield that generates shareholder value.
It is likely that Apple can demand an interest rate in Japan about 1 percentage point lower than in the U.S, especially with Apple's higher credit rating. Apple just recently sold $6.5 billion in bonds in February. It was the fourth time in less than two years that Apple has raised over $3 billion in the debt markets.