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There's a new world leader on the ranking of world's most powerful passport

Relaxnews (AFP) logoRelaxnews (AFP) 5/22/2018
Japanese citizens now hold the world's most powerful passport. © Provided by AFPRelaxNews Japanese citizens now hold the world's most powerful passport.

The ranking for the world's most powerful passport has changed once again, this time with Japan topping the leaderboard. 

In the latest edition of the Henley Passport Index, Japan edges out former chart-toppers Singapore and Germany for offering their passport-holders visa-free access to 189 destinations. 

Germany and Singapore fall to second place by a slim margin, with 188 destinations. 

While European countries in the Schengen Area have traditionally dominated the index, analysts point to the rising power of Asian nations, thanks to increasingly strong international trade and diplomatic relations. 

Recently, South Korea and Singapore, for instance, struck deals with Uzbekistan and Somalia.  

China also climbed the index after gaining access to Bosnia and Herzegovina and the United Arab Emirates this year. 

In fact, the reciprocal agreement between China and the UAE is credited with boosting growth in the local tourism industry by up to 70 percent so far, compared to last year, the report notes. 

On the flip side, the report points out that China is also "reciprocating the warm welcome it has received on the global stage," offering 59 countries visa-free access to its popular Hainan province for up to one month. 

Meanwhile, the fastest climber on the index is the United Arab Emirates, which has risen 38 spots to 23rd place since 2008.  

The country also secured eight new visa-waivers for its citizens in 2018 alone, more than any other country: China, Ireland, Burkina Faso, Uruguay, Guinea, Tonga, Benin and Honduras. 

The ranking is based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and is updated in real-time. 

Here is the latest ranking: 

1. Japan - visa-free access to 189 countries 
2. Germany, Singapore - 188 
3. Finland, France, Italy, South Korea, Spain, Sweden - 187 
4. Austria, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, UK, US - 186 
5. Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Switzerland - 185 
6. Greece, Australia - 183 
7. Czech Republic, Malta, New Zealand - 182 
8. Iceland - 181 
9. Hungary, Slovenia, Malaysia - 180 
10. Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia - 179

WATCH: Why you should never put your passport in your carryon (provided by Travel & Leisure)

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