• Kyodo

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Aviation rules will be revised to prepare for the Self-Defense Forces’ use of unmanned reconnaissance aircraft to monitor the Senkaku Islands, government officials said.

The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry will begin studying similar rules in other countries next month in preparation for a revision in fiscal 2014 starting in April, the officials said Sunday.

Current aviation law only applies to manned aircraft, they said.

The Defense Ministry plans to start using drones to beef up air surveillance for dealing with territorial issues, including the prolonged row with China over the Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. The ministry is considering deploying Global Hawk unmanned high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft used by the U.S. military, as early as fiscal 2015.

The Global Hawk can fly roughly twice as high as commercial passenger aircraft for more than 30 hours on autopilot.

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