There were red faces at Tokyo MX on Wednesday when a drone being flown during a news shoot ended up in the grounds of the British Embassy in Tokyo, the TV station admitted Friday.
Although hardly an incursion into British airspace, the incident came hours after a similar drone apparently carrying a radioactive payload was noticed on the roof of the Prime Minister’s Official Residence.
Tokyo MX, or Tokyo Metropolitan Television Broadcasting Corp., said news staff had been flying the drone from the company’s parking lot while filming a report about drone capabilities when they lost control, allowing the aircraft to drift onto the grounds of the nearby British Embassy in Chiyoda Ward.
The broadcaster, which is only about 100 meters from the embassy, said its staff promptly reported the incident.
“It was a multi-rotor drone, measuring about 30 cm and weighing 900 grams,” a spokeswoman for the TV station said.
The aim of the report was to show how drones are flown and was being filmed in response to the incident at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence, she said.
The drone was found on the embassy’s premises later that day and returned to Tokyo MX, the station said, adding that police said no one was injured. Contacted by a reporter Friday, the British Embassy declined to comment.
Meanwhile, another drone incident made headlines Friday when a Tokyo videographer said he had uploaded aerial footage taken by a drone of the Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture.
Keiki Yokokawa, 49, said he flew the drone for two days last July over the plant’s No. 1 and 2 reactors and uploaded the footage to the Internet.
“I wanted to show people what the power plant looks like, to spark discussion on whether the reactors should be restarted,” he said.
Concerned by the lack of regulation concerning drone flights over sensitive facilities, the government held a meeting of ministry executives Friday to consider tightening regulation.
“We will first consider measures to prevent the use of drones in committing crimes,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga. “The government and the ruling coalition will be united in creating a crisis management system.”
As for the use of drones by TV broadcasters, internal affairs minister Sanae Takaichi said the government will ask TV stations to use them “appropriately.”
But Shunichi Yamaguchi, minister in charge of science and technology, said the government should be careful so that tighter regulation does not hinder the development of technology.
“It is difficult to decide to what extent the use of drones should be allowed,” Yamaguchi said, adding that expectations are high for using drones to surveil disaster-struck areas.
Liberal Democratic Party executive Toshihiro Nikai said his party will prepare a lawmaker-sponsored bill to ban drone flights over sensitive facilities.
Since the government is also considering a similar bill, Nikai’s comment apparently was aimed at pressuring the government to speed up the process.
Information from Kyodo added