The Japanese passport has overtaken Singapore's as the most powerful in the world, according to the most recently published Henley Passport Index. The index states that Japanese passport holders can enter 189 countries and territories without the need to apply for a visa prior to traveling.
Singapore has dropped to joint-second place with Germany, they can enter 188 destinations without a prior visa. In joint third place are Finland, France, Italy, South Korea, Spain, and Sweden, while the US and the UK are in joint-fourth.
In Henley's previous index, Singapore and Japan were joint-top with visa-free access to 180 destinations. Since then, Henley has added Andorra, Benin, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Palestine, San Marino, and the Vatican City to the list of countries Japanese citizens can access visa-free.
Although the Singapore passport also provides visa-free access to these countries and territories, it recently lost visa-free access to Kosovo, a disputed territory. This left the Singapore passport one destination short of Japan's total.
The most improved country is the UAE. It has risen 38 places since 2008 and is now in 23rd place. China has also risen considerably moving up from 74th to 68th position.
The Henley Passport Index and the Arton Capital Passport Index
The Henley Passport Index has been updated to include eight new travel destinations. This is the reason why some countries have risen up the rankings quickly. 227 travel destinations are taken into account, including countries, territories, and micro-states. Its information is based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Henley is not the only major passport index. Its rival, run by Arton Capital ranks Singapore as having the joint most powerful passport in the world, along with South Korea. Japan is in joint-second with Germany.
The Arton Capital passport index is based on a different methodology to the Henley Passport Index. Henley ranks according to how many territories they can either enter visa-free or obtain a visa on arrival. Arton Capital use a VFS (Visa Free Score) which counts how many territories are visa-free (but does not include visa-on-arrivals). Singapore and South Korea have a VFS of 163.
Arton Capital's data is provided by various government agencies. Both and Arton Capital rank 199 passports which include the 193 United Nations member countries and six other micro-states.