Why the Japanese passport is so powerful

Published on: 19 October 2022

For the fifth year in a row, the Japanese passport is ranked as the most “powerful” passport in the world. Those who hold a Japanese passport have visa-free access to the greatest number of destinations in the world. Therefore, international mobility, without the obstacles related to obtaining a visa, is not a concern for those with a Japanese passport. 

Below you’ll find more information about what makes the Japanese passport powerful and details about potential means of obtaining this top-ranked passport.  

Japan Passport Ranking

The question remains, how did the Japanese passport become the most powerful? The Japan passport ranking is based on how accessible other countries are to holders of this passport. Those who hold a Japanese passport have visa-free access to 194 destinations.

In short, the Japanese passport is the most powerful because it offers those who hold it the opportunity to travel without visa restrictions to the largest number of destinations compared to other countries passports. As the top-ranked passport, the Japanese passport offers its holders international mobility and the possibility to see many parts of the world.

The power of the Japanese passport is both quantitative and qualitative. On one hand, it is a calculated sum of the countries that are visa-free destinations for the holders of that passport. It can be determined compared to all other passports in the world and ranked on an index or list. On the other hand, it is the golden ticket to global mobility and connection. The experiences and opportunities a powerful passport like the Japanese one can offer are priceless.

Japan Passport Visa-Free Countries 

A visa-free destination refers to those countries where the passport holder does not require a visa to enter the country, as well as the countries that provide a visa on arrival or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). All three types of entry schemes are considered part of the visa-free ranking number. The more visa-free destinations a passport allows access to, the better the rank it has.

With a Japanese passport, the world is your oyster. Those with Japanese passports can access stunning landscapes, travel to the most famous capitals, visit amazing cultural sites, and conduct business in a variety of industries.

Holders of a Japanese passport can visit a variety of attractive destinations on nearly every continent including countries in the European Union, North, South, and Central America, the United Kingdom, the Gulf, Africa, the Middle East, and much more. The Japanese passport visa-free countries include exciting destinations for adventure tourism like Brazil and New Zealand, as well as countries for business opportunities like Germany, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates.

Japan Nationality

Now that we have established the global power of the Japanese passport, you might be asking
“does Japan give citizenship to foreigners?” and/or “how can I get a Japanese passport?”
It is possible to obtain a Japanese passport through the process of naturalization. Once you become a Japanese citizen through naturalization, you can apply for a Japanese passport. This process requires the applicant to have lived in Japan legally for five consecutive years before they apply for citizenship. Living in Japan for five years can be accomplished by applying for and receiving the proper visas.

Japan offers short and long-term visas for residency purposes. If you are looking to follow the naturalization process to obtain Japanese citizenship, and eventually the passport, it’s important to identify the type of visa that would allow you to stay in the country for five years. 

Besides living in Japan for five years, there are other requirements that must be met to obtain Japanese citizenship. The applicant must show proof of good conduct by submitting a clean criminal record, regular tax payments, or other documents. Other documents might be required like the applicant’s photo, documents containing general information about the applicant’s family, a letter describing the purpose of applying for naturalization, a resume, documents describing the applicant’s business activities in Japan, and proof of subsistence or sufficient finances, to name a few. 

Japanese citizenship may be obtained in other ways apart from naturalization. There are two other channels applicants might follow. The first is through birth if one or both of the applicant’s parents are Japanese. The second channel is through notification. If the applicant is under 18 years of age with a Japanese parent and did not receive Japanese citizenship at birth, they may receive citizenship through notification. 

The applicant must also be prepared to lose their first nationality if they are naturalized. In some cases, applicants may retain their first passport, but this is usually only for special cases. It should be noted that Japan changed its age limit for the naturalization process as of April 2022. The naturalization process was limited to those aged 20 and above. As of April, the age limit was lowered to 18 years old. 


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