• Kyodo

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The transport ministry said Thursday it will start relaxing restrictions on the use of electronic devices during takeoffs and landings from Sept. 1 so travelers can listen to music or play games on their own devices while in flight.

The devices subject to the move will include smartphones set in “airplane mode” to suspend communication functions, digital cameras, personal computers and digital music players.

Wi-Fi connections, which are currently limited to times when planes are flying at certain altitudes, will also be allowed at any time under the eased regulations, although it will be up to the airlines themselves whether to permit it.

Making calls, sending and receiving email and using Internet connections by mobile phone will become permissible when a plane enters a taxiway after landing, but airlines are likely to continue to ask passengers to refrain from using mobile phones until the plane’s door is open.

The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry bans the use of electronic devices during takeoffs and landings, saying they could have an adverse effect on navigation systems. But the ministry began to consider easing the regulations and has judged that many domestic planes are resistant to radio waves emitted by electronic devices, after the United States lifted such restrictions last October.

Meanwhile, such restrictions will remain in place for small and older planes that have less resistance to radio waves.

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