Being Japanese is the best nationality in Asia
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Being Japanese is the best nationality in Asia

PEOPLE born in Japan, New Zealand and Australia are the luckiest in the Asia Pacific, says new research by citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners.

The Henley & Partners – Kochenov Quality of Nationality Index (QNI) ranks the “objective value” of world nationalities in terms of internal factors such as human development, peace and security, as well as external facts like visa-free travel and the ability to settle and work abroad visa-free.

For 2016, it ranked Japan at number one in the region and number 31 overall, followed by New Zealand (32) and Australia (33). Japan was ranked 7 overall in the Travel Freedom category, however lagged in terms of the domestic opportunities available for its citizens.


Women take a selfie in a shopping mall in Tokyo, Japan, September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

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The second edition of the QNI measured the status quo as on 10 October 2016, weighing up the opportunities provided to all nationalities both at home and abroad.

The neighbouring Southeast Asian countries of Singapore and Malaysia came in at 36 and 45, respectively. South Korea was ranked 39, while hermit state North Korea was not considered by the study.

“The QNI is relevant and of interest to all individuals, and a vital resource for those who are financially independent and wish to enjoy the benefits of alternative citizenship, as it provides assistance in selecting the most valuable second or third nationality,” said Dr Christian H. Kälin, a specialist on immigration law and a Group Chairman of Henley & Partners.


Beachgoers stand on the sand after swimming in the surf at Sydney’s Manly Beach, Australia, March 29, 2017. Picture taken March 29, 2017. Source: Reuters/Steven Saphore

“Over the last decade there has been a growing trend amongst wealthy and talented individuals to build up a citizenship portfolio to ensure greater international opportunity, stability, freedom and security for themselves and their families.”

Asian giants China and India ranked fairly poorly at 61 and 101, respectively. At 153, being Pakistani was ranked one of the worst nationalities on earth along with being from Afghanistan, Syria and Sudan.

Burma (Myanmar) was also ranked poorly at 148, while Nepal sat at 141. Being Thai (97) or Indonesian (105) wasn’t great either.

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A girl eats a piece of ice as she stands outside her family tent on the outskirts of Peshawar, Pakistan September 7, 2017. Source: Reuters/Fayaz Aziz

Members of the European Union dominated the top spots, with German citizens being found to be the luckiest on the planet. France, the Nordic countries, Italy and Spain also fared well. No countries in the Asia Pacific made it into the Extremely High category of nationality ranking.

While currently ranked 12, a “hard Brexit” would “heavily impair” the quality of British nationality, the report found. The United States sat at number 29, below Cyrus, Romania and Latvia.

“In the absolute majority of circumstances our nationality plays an important role in establishing a highly irrational ceiling for our opportunities and aspirations,” said Henley & Partners, “reflecting the core aspect of being a national of some place, which is a random act of birth boasting no correlation with any person’s achievements, ideas, feelings and desires.”