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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Japanese investors to develop RM500mil "Little Japan" in Johor Baru

JOHOR BARU: Japanese investors plan to develop Malaysia's first "Little Japan" township in Taman Molek here for high net worth ethnic Japanese keen to relocate and make Malaysia their second home.

Global Asia Assets (M) Sdn Bhd (GAAM), an asset-building consulting company for Japanese investors, which is behind the project, hopes to woo 2,000 wealthy Japanese to live, work or do business here within the next few years.

GAAM chief executive officer Fujimura Masanori said since March last year, some 70 Japanese individuals had already relocated here under the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme.

Additionally, 365 Japanese investors have also acquired high-end residential and commercial properties worth more than RM400mil here since January last year and are expected to also move here permanently soon.

"In view of the overwhelming response, we are eager to kick start the "Little Japan" project in Taman Molek where Japanese individuals are expected to invest over RM500mil in landed houses and luxury apartments over the next few years," said Fujimura.

Fukimura was talking to reporters at the Starhill Golf & Country Club in conjunction with a charity golf tournament in aid of the victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami last year.

About 50 golfers, including 20-GAAM customers from Japan had flown here to take part in the event.

All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross Society for distribution to needy victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami on March 11 last year.

According to Fujimura, "Little Japan", the first of its kind in Malaysia, would be a self-contained township complete with restaurants, spas, medical facilities and retirement homes for Japanese who want to live and work here.

He noted that the Japanese, who have traditionally avoided investing outside of Japan, have enormous amounts of liquid assets lying dormant in Japanese banks.

Fujimura said the response was very positive with Japanese clients buying up 50 per cent of the 248 high-end condominium units in Molek Pine Tower 3 - a project by the Kuok Group subsidiary, Tanjung Bintang Sdn Bhd, which is marketed under the Berinda brand name.

"The developer, in view of the overwhelming response from Japanese buyers, will refit the units with special Japanese features such as Onsen-Spa facilities, Ofuro (Japanese bathtub) and Zen concept landscaping.

"Our clients have already committed over RM400 million in the purchase of units in various residential schemes in Taman Molek and Taman Ponderosa, which is yet another project by Berinda," he said, adding that GAAM will also manage the property on behalf of its clients.

"Johor Baru's proximity to Singapore, coupled with good infrastructure, fine weather, the Government's commitment to boost safety and security and the virtual absence of natural disasters like earthquakes, makes it an ideal place for Japanese to make it their second home," he said.

These residents, he added, would eventually also open Japanese convenience shops, fine restaurants, dental and medical clinics in partnership with locals, traditional medicine shops and even retirement homes catering not only to Japanese clients, but also Singaporeans and locals.

"They will help create jobs, provide skills training, help promote business and contribute to the local economy and the growth of Johor and Malaysia as a whole," he stressed.

Fujimura is confident the "Little Japan" project will take off in a big way because of rapid development in Johor under Iskandar Malaysia, with international schools and universities and top-notch health and medical facilities all opening here soon.

By Bernama

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