Myanmar helps Japan dominate passport rankings

A Japanese passport. Photo: Flickr / Toshiyuki IMAI

With a boost from Myanmar, Japan has overtaken Singapore as the country with the strongest passport, according to the 2018 Henley Passport Index.

In July, Japan and Singapore were tied, with passport holders from both countries enjoying visa-free access to 189 countries. Earlier this month, however, Japanese citizens were granted visa-free access to Myanmar, pushing Singapore down to the second spot.

Myanmar has been courting tourists from Japan, South Korea, and China since allegations of genocide and crimes against humanity have triggered a slump in tourism from Western countries. Visitors from Japan and South Korea can now visit Myanmar visa-free, while visitors from China, Hong Kong, and Macau can buy tourist visas on arrival.

Germany, France, and South Korea tied for third place in the passport rankings, followed by a group of EU nations: Denmark, Finland, Italy, Sweden, and Spain.

The United Kingdom and the United States took the fifth spot, along with several European countries.

At the bottom of the list are Iraq and Afghanistan, whose citizens can travel to 30 countries without a visa.

The index ranks each passport by assessing how easy it is to enter other countries, using data from the International Air Transport Association.

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