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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.

Article

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

JUIDA Issues Safe-use Guidelines

Industry group issues safe-use guidelines to fly drones

The Japan Times reports that an industry group has  issued safe-use guidelines to fly drones. (August 5, 2015)

 The Japan UAS Industrial Development Association, a group of companies and research institutions in Japan announced guidelines for the safe use of drones at a symposium held in Tokyo on Tuesday.

The first-ever safety guidelines for the unmanned aerial systems in the country, compiled by the Japan UAS Industrial Development Association, stipulate where and how to fly the aircraft. They also call on users to obtain the operator’s license to be introduced voluntarily by the association, get damage insurance coverage, and file reports with authorities if accidents happen.

Yasuhiro Senda, head of the association, told reporters that the group hopes to launch the voluntary license system by the end of the year, noting license applicants must pass both paper and skill tests.

The guidelines assume the enactment of the bills currently going through the Diet and the introduction of the state operator’s license and registration systems for companies to make, sell and operate drones.

In May, the association opened an airport exclusively for drone flight training and tests in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/08/05/national/private-sector-group-issues-drone-safe-use-guidelines/

Drones to be grounded in Tokyo

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.

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201507150040

Japan passes bill restricting drone flights

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.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/07/09/national/japan-lower-house-passes-bill-restricting-drone-flights/

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.

http://rt.com/news/272731-japan-law-drones-ban/

 

 

Bill to restrict drone flights

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.

 

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/07/02/national/crimelegal/ministry-draws-up-bill-to-restrict-drone-flights/#.VZaV5WBCPzI

Plans to License Drones

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.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/05/11/national/license-required-high-spec-drones/#.VZQAzmBCPzK

Japan UAV Association (mainly Japanese)

Link to the Japan UAV Association (mainly in Japanese)

This association represents the industries that develop, manufacture and operate unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Japan. It was organized for the purpose of promoting safety and contributing to the development of the UAV market in Japan.

http://www.juav.org/menu01/introduction_juav.html

Its regular corporate members include:
Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.
Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.
Yanmar Agricultural Equipment Co., Ltd.
Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
Hirobo Limited
Hitachi Co., Ltd
NEC Corporation
GH Craft Ltd.
Fuji Imvac Inc.
NIPPI Corporation
Xenocross Co., Ltd
X-TREME COMPOSITE JAPAN.LLC
Furuno Electric Co., Ltd.
GEOSURF CORPORATION
Futaba Corporation
TOKYO AIRCRAFT INSTRUMENT CO.,LTD.
Kanematsu Aerospace Corporation
Autonomous Control Systems Laboratory Ltd.
Canon Marketing Japan Inc.

Japan to ban drones in residential areas

It is reported by the Asahi Shimbun  that the government plans to ban individuals from operating drones in densely populated residential areas. An outline of the proposed rules on drones was endorsed at a liaison meeting of relevant government agencies on June 2.

The government will submit a bill to amend the Aviation Law, which currently does not regulate the operation of small unmanned aircraft, for passage during the ordinary Diet session that is due to wind up June 24.

June 03, 2015

Link to full article:

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201506030035

 

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