Japan regulates drones over crowded areas

Japan enacts law to regulate drone flights over crowded areas

Nikkei Asian Review

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Japan’s parliament enacted Friday a law that bans drones from flying over crowded residential areas or around airports without government permission.

The move is part of a set of safety measures devised by the government after a small drone with a minuscule amount of radiation was found in April on the roof of the prime minister’s office building.

The Revised Civil Aeronautics Law, due to take effect by the year-end, defines drones as unmanned aircraft that can fly by remote control or automatic pilot but exempts lightweight toy drones. Violators face fines of up to 500,000 yen (some $4,200).

The legislation also sets basic rules for drone operators, who are required to restrict flights to daytime, visually check their surroundings, keep drones at a certain distance from people and buildings, not fly them at festivals, exhibitions or other places that attract crowds, and not carry explosives on them.

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Guidelines for drone use on farms

Japan to set guidelines for farm drone use

Japan Times, August 30, 2015

Japan’s agriculture ministry is considering setting rules for how drones can be using in farming amid a recent upsurge of interest by the sector in the technology, according to officials in the agency.

Compared with the unmanned helicopters currently used in agricultural work, such as for spraying pesticides, drones are cheaper and more efficient, a farmer in Hokkaido said.

In Japan, remote-control industrial helicopters should have a payload capacity of at least 10 kilograms, and their operators are required to obtain flight skill certificates and submit flight plans. At present, about 2,700 such helicopters are registered and in use, chiefly for spraying pesticides on rice, soy bean, wheat and barley fields.

Meanwhile, drones, which have less lifting capacity, have yet to be regulated.

Japan Times