National

Teen whose drone was taken after Zenkoji accident found flying one near Diet

Kyodo

The Metropolitan Police Department said Thursday that a 15-year-old boy was found trying to fly a drone near the Diet building and believe he is the same person who flew one over Zenkoji Temple in Nagano Prefecture last week.

Acting on a tip from a witness, police officers found the teen using a personal computer to manipulate a 30-sq.-cm drone equipped with a camera. He refused to say what he was doing with the drone and received a warning, they said.

On May 9, a drone plopped onto the crowded grounds of Zenkoji Temple while priests were displaying a culturally important Buddhist statue to the public for the first time since 2009. No injuries were reported, the police said.

A 15-year-old teen later showed up at a police station and said the drone fell there while he was practicing with it. The police believe the drone found near the Diet is a different model because the first one was seized by the police and was not returned. The teen, however, was not charged with a crime.

There are no laws regulating drone flights.

The Liberal Democratic Party is seeking to ban drone flights over important facilities such as the prime minister’s office, the Diet building and the Imperial Palace, after a drone with trace amounts of cesium in sand possibly from Fukushima Prefecture was found on the roof of the prime minister’s office on April 22 after sitting there for nearly two weeks.

Meanwhile, Akita Mayor Motomu Hozumi asked people Thursday to refrain from flying drones at the two-day Tohoku Rokkon festival, which will be held in a 3.3-sq.-km area in the center of Akita on May 30 and 31. Six major festivals in the six prefectures making up the Tohoku region will participate in the event, which was first held in Sendai after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. This year, the event is expected to draw some 225,000 visitors.

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