Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia Masahiko Horie said about 1,500 Japanese retirees had opted for the programme.
"The number is expected to rise to 10% this year," Horie told a media briefing on "Why the Japanese like Malaysia" here on Wednesday, Dec 8.
He said the programme also offered attractive options to the Japanese for making Malaysia their second home.
The programme, promoted by the Tourism Ministry, allows foreigners who fulfill certain criteria to stay in Malaysia for as long as possible on a multiple-entry social visit pass.
The pass is initially for 10 years, and is renewable.
Horie said about 400,000 Japanese came to Malaysia last year, where 40% were tourists.
"I hope the number will increase soon as Malaysia has become a popular destination among the Japanese retirees since 2006," he said.
Among the places the Japanese tourists found attractive were Langkawi, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Melaka, Kota Kinabalu and the East Coast, he said.
He said the Japanese liked the climate, culture, food, friendly people and a stable country as well as multi-lingual.
"Furthermore, there are a wide range of holiday activities that Malaysia has to offer, from beach resorts to highlands, flora and fauna, metropolitan shopping areas to relaxing kampung homestay," he said. — Bernama
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