TOKYO Dec 18 (Reuters) - The Children's Investment Fund (TCI) has sold most of its stake in Japan Tobacco after the UK activist investor's proposals for boosting returns were repeatedly rejected by the cigarette monopoly's shareholders, people with direct knowledge of the sale said.

TCI, which bought into JT in 2011 and was one of its top shareholders as of September last year with a 1.77 percent stake, had proposed the company conduct a 150 billion yen ($1.23 billion) share buyback and pay a year-end dividend of 150 yen per share.

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The proposals were rejected in March by shareholders of JT, in which Japan's finance ministry owned a 33.4 percent stake as of June. TCI made similar proposals in JT's previous three annual meetings but all of them were voted down by shareholders.

TCI's holding in the company is now below 1 percent, the people said. That would mean the UK investor can't make any more proposals, under Japanese law.

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TCI could not be immediately contacted for comment. ($1 = 122.2300 yen) (Reporting by Ritsuko Shimizu; Writing by Junko Fujita; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)