This does not mean that the passport is widely used, even if travel rebounds from Covid. Only 24 million valid Japanese passports were in circulation at the end of 2021, according to the country’s latest available figures. Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This represents a drop of over 3 million from the previous year and means that less than 20% of the population held the travel document.
Singapore and South Korea held on to second place in the rankings, followed by Germany and Spain, and then a host of other European nations.
The United States was among the top 22, with visa-free access to 186 locations, along with Switzerland, New Zealand and Norway. That of China allows access to 80, like that of Bolivia. Russia is better, offering hassle-free entry to 118 destinations, while Afghanistan remained weakest, with access to just 27.
The ranking, published by London-based immigration consultancy Henley & Partners, uses data from the International Air Transport Association to rank the access of 199 passports to 227 travel destinations. The methodology differs from other passport indexes like the one published by financial adviser Arton Capital, which puts the UAE in pole position.
Separately, a July Morning Consult poll showed that 35% of adult respondents in Japan said they would never consider traveling for leisure again, a far higher percentage than the other 13 countries surveyed. South Korea was next, with 15% saying the same.
Nearly 2 million people traveled overseas from Japan in the first 10 months of last year, according to Japan’s National Tourism Organization, a far cry from the 20 million who did so in 2019, before the pandemic.