Passport issuance in Japan falls to 48-yr low in 2020 due to virus

©Kyodo News

The number of passports issued by the Japanese government in 2020 plunged 70.3 percent from the previous year to 1.34 million, the lowest in 48 years, reflecting a drop in the number of people traveling abroad amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Foreign Ministry said Friday.

Monthly issuance has fallen sharply since around the spring of last year as countries around the world imposed strict border controls to curb the spread of the coronavirus, a ministry official said.

As of the end of 2020, valid Japanese passports totaled some 27.71 million, down 2.56 million from the previous year, the ministry said.

The number of stolen or lost cases totaled 12,000 in 2020, down 72.3 percent from the previous year, with some 80 percent of them reported within Japan.