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How Myanmar Helped Japan Claim Tag of World’s Most Powerful Passport

Everyone wants to travel and films and pop culture make it look so much easier to just hop on a plane and fly around the globe at the drop of a hat. But in reality, travelling the world is not that easy. In fact,  for travel enthusiasts from countries with ‘weaker’ passports, international travel can be challenging.

According to recent rankings, the Indian passport is the 81st most powerful passport in the world. After spending some contentious months tied at the first spot, Japan has inched ahead of Singapore to become the country with the ‘strongest’ passport. It means that a Japanese passport holder can enter the most number of countries without a visa or get a visa on arrival.
In July, Singapore and Japan were tied at first place, with 189 countries allowing them visa free access. However, in October, Myanmar became the tie breaker and the 190th country in the world to allow Japanese passport holders to enter visa-free in the country. Germany, France and South Korea tied in third place while US and United Kingdom tied at the fifth, losing a rank from last year. The new rankings were reported in the Henley Passport Index compiled by global citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners Citizens. As per the index, Indians have access to travel without a visa to 60 countries, which includes Bhutan, Mauritius, Nepal, Fiji, among others.

Visa politics is usually a contentious issue and often a matter of international policy. At the moments, conflict ridden countries like Iraq and Afghanistan have the least visa-free access to the countries (30). However, the United Arab Emirates has jumped 40 places in the last decade to currently be at the 21st rank.

However, trends of visa relaxation are often linked with immigration policies. Professor Florian Trauner from the Institute for European Studies at the Free University of Brussels told ABC News that with the resurrection of the popularity of right politics globally, immigration laws are only expected to get tougher.

Updated: October 11, 2018 — 10:02 pm
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