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.