I am looking at this bond ETF "iShares MSCI Japan UCITS ETF USD (Dist)" which is listed on the London stock exchange. What does DIST refer to in this equity ETF? I cannot find the answer from the website.
"Dist" is short for "Distributing" and means that income from the underlying instruments is distributed to holders of the ETF every so often. For bond funds this income would be interest or "coupons" on the bonds, and for equity funds the income would be dividends, but either way the end result is the same.
The alternative, "Acc" ("Accumulating") means that income would be reinvested to buy more assets for the ETF, so holders would never directly receive a payout. Of course that means their units will gradually become more valuable compared to the "Dist" alternative and they can sell some every so often to cash out.
With a distributing ETF, the pending payouts are retained as cash within the fund, which means that a small amount of money is being kept out of the market - i.e. not exposed to any gains or losses.
If you have a choice of which to get, you should think about what your own goals are, and also check the tax treatment in your jurisdiction.