HomeGovernment To Restrict Drone Flights By Adopting Bill

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The government adopted at a cabinet meeting Tuesday a bill to restrict drone flights after a series of drone incidents including the discovery of a small drone on the roof of the prime minister’s office in April.

The government hopes to have the bill to amend the aviation law enacted during the ongoing parliamentary session, which is scheduled to end on Sept. 27.

The bill defines unmanned aircraft, not specified in the current law, as machines that cannot structurally carry any passenger and are operated by remote control or on autopilot.

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The bill includes a ban on drone flights over densely populated areas without the permission of the transport minister. Specific no-fly zones would be set under relevant ordinances.

The transport minister will grant permission only to companies and other organizations with trained drone operators and safety arrangements.

The bill also sets general rules for drone flights. Specifically, drones will be allowed to fly only between sunrise and sunset, and the drones and surrounding areas must be constantly monitored visually during the flights.

Moreover, drone flights will be prohibited over the sites of events such as festivals and exhibitions, and other places where many people gather. The bill also says that drones must not carry dangerous objects including explosives.

The bill sets a fine of up to ¥500,000 on those who fly drones in no-fly zones without permission and fail to follow the flight rules.

In a related move, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and three other parties jointly introduced a bill to ban drone flights near and over important facilities such as the prime minister’s office. The bill has passed the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Diet