File photo of a woman holding a Japanese passport. (Photo: AFP)
Japan has overtaken Singapore as the world's strongest passport, claiming top spot on the 2018 Henley Passport Index, Henley & Partners, a residence and citizenship advisory firm, announced in a press release on Tuesday (Oct 9).
After gaining visa-free access to Myanmar earlier this month, Japan now enjoys visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 190 destinations, compared to Singapore’s total of 189, pushing Singapore into second place on the index.
The two had been neck-and-neck since they both climbed to first place in February, said the release.
This quarter, Germany fell from its previous second place ranking, sharing third place with South Korea and France. Denmark, Finland, Italy, Sweden and Spain all came in joint-fourth, with 187 destinations accessible to their citizens.
Meanwhile, the United States and the United Kingdom slid down a spot from fourth to fifth place.
"With stagnant outbound visa activity compared to Asian high-performers such as Japan, Singapore and South Korea, it seems increasingly unlikely that the US and the UK will regain the number one spot they jointly held in 2015," said the press release.
Iraq and Afghanistan hold the bottom spot on the index, with only 30 destinations accessible to their citizens.
The Henley Passport Index is a ranking of all the passports of the world according to the number of countries their holders can travel to visa-free.
It is updated in real-time, as and when visa-policy changes come into effect, according to Henley and Partners.
The ranking is based on data from the International Air Transport Association and in-house research.
In another ranking in October last year, global financial advisory firm Arton Capital named Singapore as the single most powerful passport in the world.