Japan has clinched the first position in 2021 world passport ranking. Henley & Partners Passport Index for the year shows the Japanese passport can get its holders into 191 out of the 195 countries in the United Nations.
Passports have no other uses beyond a logic of power to determine who can go to where even in a world that is supposed to be globalizing. Along with finger prints and such other biometric practices, it makes everyone legible for control purposes. The use of biometric instrument of power has been so successfully naturalised that people hardly take it to mean anything other than just a routine. It was perhaps only when Italian philosopher and theorist, Georgio Agamben caused a global stir by refusing to go to the US to teach his courses there that many people got to know that something such as finger print was meant exclusively for criminals. Because of his global stature in the world of scholarship, Agamben’s newspaper article on “No to biopolitical Tattooing” was a hot stuff but powerful governments hardly give in.
Agamben began his article first published in the radical French platform, Le Monde by saying “The newspapers leave no doubt: from now on whoever wants to go to the United States with a visa will be put on file and will have to leave their fingerprints when they enter the country. Personally, I have no intention of submitting myself to such procedures and that’s why I didn’t wait to cancel the course I was supposed to teach at New York University in March”.
He goes on to explain: “I would like to explain the reasons for this refusal here, that is, why, in spite of the sympathy that has connected me to my American colleagues and their students for many years, I consider that this decision is at once necessary and without appeal and would hope that it will be shared by other European intellectuals and teachers.
Intellectuals of state power and practitioners as well have since overcome the shocker from a leading Western philosopher of power and gone back to business as usual. In the age of digital capitalism, biopolitical mega-machinism has even become the rule. It works both way. State surveillance gives a sense of security in an environment of insecurity everywhere but who can trust the state not to use surveillance technology anyhow?
Meanwhile, Henley & Partners Passport Index shows Singapore’s Passport Holders are the second most privileged travellers in the world. They can hop across 190 nations.
According to the report, South Korea and Germany took the third position, with access to 189 countries. Italy, Finland, Spain, and Luxembourg are all there in the 4th, covering Fourth place, with 188 countries. The fifth position with access to 187 countries is occupied by Denmark and Austria. And so on and so forth.
Surprisingly, the status quo great power – the U.S.A finds itself in the seventh Position, with access to 186 countries visa-free. That is drastic climb down from the number one position previously. The index indicates that Switzerland, the U.K., Norway, Belgium and New Zealand are sharing that spot with the USA.
The index adds that due to the current Pandemic Travel Restrictions, travellers from both the U.K. and U.S. currently face major restrictions from over 105 countries, with U.S. passport holders able to travel to fewer than 75 destinations, while U.K. passport holders currently have access to fewer than 70.
China, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Guinea, Senegal, Madagascar are among the countries with no ranking in front of their names. No reasons were indicated.
War torn and mainly Middle Eastern countries of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan find themselves at the bottom of the index, each of them with access to less than 30 other countries. Other countries that are slightly better off include North Korea (39 destinations); Libya and Nepal (38); Palestinian territories (37); Somalia and Yemen (33) and Pakistan (32).
According to the ranking agency, it is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which it says holds the world’s largest database of travel information. This is supplemented by its own research, it says.
Best Passports to Hold in 2021:
The Number is Brackets shows that these Passport Holders can travel to the Countries without any Visa.
- Japan (191 destinations)
- Singapore (190)
- South Korea, Germany (189)
- Italy, Finland, Spain, Luxembourg (188)
- Denmark, Austria (187)
- Sweden, France, Portugal, Netherlands, Ireland (186)
- Switzerland, United States, United Kingdom, Norway, Belgium, New Zealand (185)
- Greece, Malta, Czech Republic, Australia (184)
- Canada (183)
- Hungary (181)