The front cover of a contemporary 10 years Japanese ePassport.
Identity Information Page of a contemporary 5 years Japanese ePassport.
|Date first issued||21 May 1866 (letter of request) |
1 January 1926 (booklet)
1 November 1992 (machine-readable passport)
20 March 2006 (biometric passport)
31 August 2013 (current version)
|Issued by||Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs|
|Type of document||Passport|
|Eligibility requirements||Japanese citizenship|
|Expiration||10 years or 5 years after acquisition for adults, 5 for ages under 19|
|Cost||¥16,000 (10 year adult passport)|
¥10,000 (5 year passport)
Japanese passports (日本国旅券 Nipponkoku ryoken) are issued to Japanese citizens to facilitate international travel.
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 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.
Types of passports
- Ordinary passport: Issued to normal Japanese citizens.
- Ordinary passports are issued in two different lengths of validity: five and ten years. Japanese citizens up to 19 years of age can only be issued a five-year passport, while those who are 20 years of age or older can choose either a five-year (blue) or ten-year (red) passport for different registration fees.
- Official passport: Issued to members of the National Diet and public servants.
- Diplomatic passport: Issued to members of the Imperial Family, diplomats and their family members, and high-level government officials.
- Emergency passport: Issued by Japanese diplomatic posts to Japanese nationals for the purpose of urgent overseas travel, valid for 1 year from date of issuance.
- Travel Document for Return to Japan (ja): Single-use travel document mainly intended for Japanese nationals to return to Japan, features a white cover with the Paulownia Government Seal of Japan. Invalidated immediately after return to Japan.
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.
- Photo of the passport holder
- Issuing country
- Passport number
- Given name
- Date of birth
- Registered Domicile
- Date of issue
- Date of expiry
- Issuing authority
- Signature of bearer
The information page ends with the Machine Readable Zone.
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:
- The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan requests all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer, a Japanese national, to pass freely and without hindrance and, in case of need, to afford him or her every possible aid and protection.
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, only if you submit the official document with the original spelling issued by the government (spouse or parent's passport etc.).
The signature may be written in any language and in any spelling the individual desires.
Visa requirements for Japanese citizens are administrative entry restrictions by the authorities of other states which are placed on citizens of Japan. As of 10 October 2018, Japanese citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 190 countries and territories, ranking the Japanese passport first in the world in terms of travel freedom according to the Henley Passport Index. Additionally, Arton Capital's Passport Index ranked the Japanese passport third in the world in terms of travel freedom, with a visa-free score of 163 (tied with Austrian, Belgian, British, Canadian, Greek, Irish, Portuguese and Swiss passports), as of 10 October 2018.
As of October 2018, 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.
Gallery of Japanese passports
- "旅券の変遷と最近の動向（海外渡航文書150周年に際して）" (PDF). 外務省. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
- "Council of the European Union - PRADO - JPN-AO-02002". www.consilium.europa.eu.
- "Council of the European Union - PRADO - JPN-AO-02003". www.consilium.europa.eu.
- "秋のレビュー 3日目（平成28年11月12日開催）".
- "Global Ranking - Visa Restriction Index 2018" (PDF). Henley & Partners. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
Media related to Passports of Japan at Wikimedia Commons