|Japanese passport |
|Issued by||Ministry of Foreign Affairs|
|First issued||21 May 1866[a]|
(letter of request)
1 January 1926
1 November 1992
20 March 2006
31 August 2013
4 February 2020
|Expiration||10 years or 5 years|
after acquisition for adults,
5 years for ages under 17
|Cost||10 year adult passport;|
5 year passport for 12-year-old or over;
5 year passport for 11-year-old or under;
Japanese passports (日本国旅券, Nihonkoku ryoken) are issued to Japanese citizens to facilitate international travel. As of 2022, with holders able to travel visa-free to 193 countries and territories, it has been ranked as the most powerful passport in the world.
The first travel documents for overseas travel by Japanese citizens were introduced in 1866, near the end of the Tokugawa shogunate. These documents took the form of a stamped "letter of request" allowing Japanese citizens to travel overseas for business and educational purposes. The first person to be issued with a Japanese travel document was the acrobat and magician Namigorō Sumidagawa (ja:隅田川浪五郎), who received his travel document on 17 October 1866 in order to perform at the 1867 World's Fair held in Paris, France. The term "passport" was formally introduced into the Japanese language in 1878, and in 1900 the first regulations governing the usage of Japanese passports were introduced. The modern form of the Japanese passport first came about in 1926, and the first ICAO-compliant, machine-readable Japanese passports were introduced in 1992.
All Japanese passports issued after 20 March 2006 are biometric passports.
Japanese passports have the Chrysanthemum Imperial Seal of Japan inscribed in the centre of the front cover, with the Japanese characters reading Nipponkoku Ryoken (日本国旅券) inscribed above in seal script and its English translation JAPAN PASSPORT in Latin letters below the Seal. Ordinary passports valid for five years feature dark blue covers, and those valid for ten years feature crimson-coloured covers. Additionally, official passports feature dark green covers, and diplomatic passports feature dark brown covers.
The information page ends with the Machine Readable Zone.
Photo for Japan passport should meet specific requirements:
The passports contain a note from the issuing country that is addressed to the authorities of all other countries, identifying the bearer as a citizen of that country and requesting that he or she be allowed to pass and be treated according to international norms. The note inside of Japanese passports states:
Japanese passports are entirely printed in both Japanese and English, except for the note of caution that is found at the end of the passport (e.g. on page 51 of the ten-year biometric ordinary passport), which is only printed in Japanese. This note contains information about what the bearer should know when encountering various situations in a foreign country.
The surname, given name and other personalised mentions (like registered domicile) are only indicated in Latin uppercase letters. Japanese names are in principle transcribed according to the Hepburn romanisation system, but exceptions are admitted in certain cases, notably when the name is the katakana transcription of a foreign name (Japanese spouse or Japanese child of a foreigner), in which case the original spelling of the name in the Latin alphabet may be used.
The signature may be written in any language and in any spelling the individual desires.
Main article: Visa requirements for Japanese citizens
Visa requirements for Japanese citizens are administrative entry restrictions by the authorities of other states which are placed on citizens of Japan. As of 6 August 2022, Japanese citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 193 countries and territories, ranking the Japanese passport the strongest passport in the world in terms of travel freedom according to the Henley Passport Index. Additionally, Arton Capital's Passport Index ranks the Japanese passport third strongest in the world with a mobility score of 169 (tied with Belgian, Danish, Irish, New Zealand, Polish, Portuguese and United States passports), as of 6 August 2022. However, suspension of visa waivers and travel restrictions toward Japanese passport holders since January 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic puts this statement into doubt.
As of 2023, the passports of Japan, Brunei, Singapore and San Marino are the only ones to allow either visa-free entry or electronic travel authorisation to the world's four largest economies, namely China, India, the European Union and the United States.