Editor’s note: It is not clear from the article what types of drone aircraft this would apply to, specifically whether it would apply to the smaller toy-like drones that are increasingly becoming popular.
The Asahi Shinbun reported on July 15, 2015 that Prime Minister Abe’s Cabinet approved a draft revision to the Aviation Law on July 14 under which operators would be banned from flying drones in Tokyo’s 23 wards as well as the central part of each prefectural capital.
Operators will also be prohibited from flying drones at night or under conditions in which they cannot directly see the drone in flight.
The transport ministry plans to designate regions with a population of 4,000 or more per square kilometer as no-fly zones. Violators would face a fine of up to 500,000 yen ($4,051).
The government is looking to pass the revision during the current Diet session.
Once it becomes law, drone operators will need to apply to airport offices and other related authorities for permission to fly unmanned craft over densely populated areas or around airports.
Local governments are also working on measures to restrict drones.
Japan Lower House passes bill restricting drone flights
July 9, 2015
The Japan Times reported that Japan’s Lower House passed a bill on July 9 to ban drones near the prime minister’s office and other facilities.
It was sent to the House of Councilors and is expected to be enacted during the current Diet session, which has been extended to Sept. 27.
The facilities designated include the Imperial Palace, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Supreme Court and nuclear power plants.
Flying drones near these facilities would be prohibited if the bill is enacted. Violators would face imprisonment of up to one year or a fine of up to ¥500,000 (around $4100).
The government is considering submitting a separate bill to revise the aviation law to prohibit drone flights near airports and densely populated areas.
It was also reported in rt.com that according to the transport ministry’s initial draft, using drones without special permission from the ministry would be banned over areas with a population density of 4,000 people per square kilometer or more. It would be also prohibited to use drones near mass public events such as festivals and exhibitions.
Drone flights over other territories would be possible at daylight hours.
July 2, 2015
The Japan Times reports that a new bill will place restrictions on drone flights.
The bill to amend the aviation law, stipulates that flying drones over densely populated areas and such facilities as airports should be banned unless permission from the transport minister is obtained.
The government is aiming for its enactment during the current Diet session, which has been extended through Sept. 27.
The draft bill defines unmanned aircraft as machines that fly by remote control or automated operation. They are not currently defined.
The ministry is considering setting no-fly zones in areas with a population density of 4,000 per sq. kilometer or more.
In areas other than no-fly zones, drones can be flown between sunrise and sunset, and the drones and surrounding areas should be constantly monitored visually during the flights.
The bill would also ban the flying of drones over sites for events such as festivals and exhibitions, and other places where many people gather.
The draft calls for imposing a fine of up to ¥500,000 on people who fly drones in no-fly zones without permission and fail to follow the flight rules.
License to be required for high-spec drones
May 11, 2015
The Japan Times reports that the government plans to introduce a licensing scheme for high specification drones that can travel at least 5km.
By using the license system, the government aims to make it easier to identify drone operators and prevent drone-related accidents, the sources said.
Because high-performance drones emit strong radio waves, the government hopes to oblige operators to acquire a special license mainly for taxi radios, the sources said.