The Malaysian 31-year-old, who has hinted he may retire at the end of the year, is set to face the man he defeated in last year’s final – Japan’s Kenichi Tago – in the semi-finals in Tokyo if results go as expected.
Lee has already won three tournaments in the 2014 BWF Super Series; the Malaysia Open, All England Open and India Open, which has taken his career total to 54 titles.
In last year’s final, Lee defeated Tago in straight sets to defend his 2012 title, which he claimed with a victory over Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana.
Tago – the fourth seed – will begin his campaign against South Korea’s Lee Dong-keun.
World number two Chen Long of China will start on the opposite side of the draw to Lee against Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk, while Danish world number three Jan Jorgensen will face Japan’s Kento Momota in the first round.
In the women’s draw, three Chinese players are set to dominate.
Li Xuerui, Wang Shixian and Wang Yihan are the top three players in the BWF’s women’s singles rankings and have won all five Super Series titles this year.
Wang Yihan won the most recent event in Singapore, defeating Li in the final – the world number one’s third straight loss in a tournament-decider.
Li lost the Indian Open and All England Open finals to Wang Shixian but triumphed in Malaysia in January, after Wang Yihan won the year’s first tournament in South Korea.
At last year’s Japan Open, two local qualifiers reached the final with Akane Yamaguchi overcoming compatriot Shizuka Uchida.
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