Japan Outranks Singapore With Most Powerful Passport In 2018 Henley Passport Index

Japan now holds the 2018 Henley Passport Index's top spot for having visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 190 countries.
Japan now holds the 2018 Henley Passport Index's top spot for having visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 190 countries.
(Photo: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

Japan now holds the 2018 Henley Passport Index's top spot for having visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 190 countries, adding Myanmar to the list. The country has successfully replaced Singapore, which is now seating to the second spot and is only allowed to visit 189 destinations without a visa.

It was a tight battle between Japan and Singapore after the two countries both got the number one spot in February. Together, they have pushed Germany down to the second spot, at the time, from its usual position since 2014, per the South China Morning Post.

Germany got the third spot along with South Korea and France with visa-free access to 188 countries. At the last moment, France secured visa-free access to Uzbekistan on Friday, October 5.

The US and the UK fell to the fifth spot, a rank lower from last year, with 186 countries. The two countries have not gained new visa-free access to any destination since 2018 started. Compared to Asia, the US and the UK have no active visa activity. So, it might still take time before the two states manage to reclaim the number one spot it both held in 2015.

The United Arab Emirates made a drastic improvement when it climbed up to the 21st spot from 62nd place in 2006. The impressive move might be because of Kosovo's success to meet all the visa requirements' liberalization with the European Union (EU) in July. The partially recognized state is also holding talks with the European Council.

Russia slid down to 47 from 46 in 2017 despite gaining visa-free access to Taiwan this year. China also experienced the same thing as it fell to the 71st spot after St. Lucia and Myanmar waived its visa.

In a statement via CNN, Group Chairman of Henley & Partners Christian H. Kälin said 2018 Henley Passport Index's result only proved that these countries could work with their "global peers" together to create a "more interconnected and collaborative world."

"China and the UAE exemplify this kind of progress, with both states among the highest overall climbers compared to 2017," he said. "Purely as a result of the strong relationships, they have built with partner countries around the world."

According to The Independent, the Henley Passport Index holds the global ranking of the world's passports based on the number of destinations its holders can visit without a visa. Its ranking is based on International Air Transport Association's (IATA) data.

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