Summary of the law in Japan on drones

The current law on drones in Japan

Drones are prohibited from flying:

1. Above 150 meters (492 ft.) within airways or 250 meters elsewhere and within 9 km of airports (Civil Aeronautics Act No. 118 of 2006 and Ordinance for Enforcement of the Civil Aeronautics Act);

2. All of Metropolitan Tokyo’s 81 public parks and gardens (Tokyo Metropolitan Government ordinance) (violation may result in a fine of up to 50,000 yen.  Officials have indicated that violators will not be arrested, which is significant as the police have a right to detain suspects without charge for 23 days.)

Legislation or ordinances pending

legislation is being drafted to ban drones near the imperial palace, the Diet, the prime minister’s office, Supreme Court, foreign embassies and other facilities.

Under the bill, air space within 300 meters of such buildings would be considered a no-fly zone. Violators could be subject to imprisonment for up to one year or a fine of 500,000 yen.

In addition, it has been reported by AsianOne that about half of the 47 prefectural and 20 ordinance-designated city governments have bans, or are considering bans, on flights of unmanned aircraft in any location that attracts crowds. The Yomiuri Shimbun reports that:

32 local governments have taken or are considering measures in parks, tourist spots, prefectural government premises and other locations that draw large crowds.

The finding highlights local government efforts to address concerns of possible drone-related incidents and accidents by using existing local ordinances.

Of the prefectural and major city governments polled, 17 prefectural governments including the Tokyo metropolitan government and five municipal governments said they have already introduced drone regulations. Five prefectural and five city governments are deciding whether to follow suit.

Most of the local governments that have introduced regulations that prohibit flying drones using existing local ordinances on parks or building management regulations.

These local governments treat drones, which could fall to the ground, as equivalent to launching fireworks or playing catch with a hard ball.

The governments of Tokyo and the city of Nagoya prohibit drone flights based on clauses in their ordinances that ban “acts that can obstruct the management of parks.”

The Sapporo municipal and the Fukuoka prefectural governments use ordinances that stipulate a ban on “acts that disturb other people.”

The Tottori prefectural government revised its local ordinance in March to “protect the Tottori Sand Dunes as the nation’s largest sand dune area.” The ordinance was revised to prohibit the operation of remote-control helicopters and other flying objects to protect the natural environment of the dunes as well as visiting tourists. Prompted by the drone incident at the Prime Minister’s Office, the prefectural government has also decided to seek a ban on drones.

Following completion of large-scale repair work at Himeji Castle in Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, there has been a spike in drones being used to shoot footage. The Himeji city government regards flying drones over the castle as “acts that obstruct the preservation of the castle” based on a city ordinance to manage the castle, and has called for restraint on drone flights.

Among the eight cities bidding to host a Group of Seven summit meeting in 2016, the municipal governments of Shima, Mie Prefecture, and Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture, are considering drone flight regulations if either of them are chosen to host the event. The local governments concerned are considering ordinances for a set period to regulate drone flights over and near the summit venue.

– See more at: http://news.asiaone.com/news/asia/japan-prefectures-curbing-drones#sthash.GNQsm1Ld.dpuf

Legislation in the pipeline

legislation is being drafted to ban drones near the imperial palace, the Diet, the prime minister’s office, Supreme Court, foreign embassies and other facilities.

Under the bill, air space within 300 meters of such buildings would be considered a no-fly zone. Violators could be subject to imprisonment for up to one year or a fine of 500,000 yen.

Civil Aeronautics Act No. 118 of 2006

99-2 No person shall launch rockets or perform any action (except installation of objects and planting of trees), as may be specified by Ordinances of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, which might affect the flights of aircraft in an air traffic control zone, an air traffic information zone, an altitude change prohibited airspace or a positive control airspace within an air traffic control area; provided, however, that the same shall not apply when the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism deems that the said action poses no danger to the flights of aircraft or is necessary in the public interest and transitory and permits such action.

http://www.japaneselawtranslation.go.jp/law/detail/?ft=1&re=02&dn=1&x=33&y=16&co=01&ia=03&ky=航空法&page=4

Ordinance for Enforcement of the Civil Aeronautics Act

Article 209-3

(Actions Likely to Affect Flight)
Article 209-3 (1) The acts that may affect a flight of aircraft pursuant to paragraph (1) of the Article 99-2 of the Act that are set out by specified by Ordinances of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism are as per the following items.
(i) Launching of rocket, firework, rockoon or other items into an airspace specified in paragraph (1) of the Article 99-2 of the Act (if the applicable airspace is a control zone or information zone, it shall be limited to the airspace 150 meters or more above the land or water surface and airspace above the approach surface, transition surface or horizontal surface, or extended approach surface, conical surface or outer external horizontal surface specified by the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (1) of the Article 56 of the Act).
(ii) Release or floatation of a balloon (except for a toy balloon and those with structure of a toy) into the airspace set out in the preceding item.
(iii) Flying a model aircraft within the airspace in item (i).
(iv) Flying as a group within the airspace in item (i).
(v) Flying a hang glider or paraglider within the airspace in item (i).
(2) A person intending to obtain a permission under the proviso of paragraph (1) of the Article 99-2 of the Act shall submit a written application to the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism stating the following matters.
(i) Full name, address and contact
(ii) Purpose of the act
(iii) Details of the act and the time and location of the applicable act
(iv) Other matters for reference
Article 209-4 (1) The acts that may affect aircraft flight pursuant to paragraph (1) of the Article 99-2 that are set out by specified by Ordinances of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism are as per the following items.
(i) Launching of rocket, firework, rockoon or other items into the following airspace among the airspaces specified in paragraph (2) of the Article 99-2 of the Act
(a) Airspace above the approach surface, transition surface or horizontal surface, or extended approach surface, conical surface or outer horizontal surface specified by the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (1) of the Article 56 of the Act
(b) Airspace 150 meters or more above the land or water surface within airways
(c) Airspace 250 meters or more above the land or water surface
(ii) Release or floatation of a balloon (except for a toy balloon and those with structure of a toy) into the airspace set out in the preceding item.
(iii) Flying a model aircraft within the airspace in item (i).
(iv) Flying as a group within the airspace in item (i).
(v) Flying a hang glider or paraglider within the airspace in item (i) (A).
(2) A person intending to conduct the act of the preceding paragraph shall notify the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism the matters listed in items (i), (iii) and (iv) of paragraph (2) of the preceding Article.

Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism web site

http://www.mlit.go.jp/koku/15_bf_000055.html