• Kyodo, Staff Report


A commercial drone being test-flown at the Defense Ministry’s premises in central Tokyo went missing amid strong winds Wednesday but was apparently found and recovered hours later, the ministry said.

The drone disappeared when members of the Self-Defense Forces and others were testing it on a field within the ministry’s compound in preparation for a presentation to ministry and agency officials on Thursday on how to counter unwanted drone use.

The DJI Phantom Drone 2, a model widely available on the market, measures 30 cm in width and length and 8 cm in height, and weighs about 1 kg. It was owned by a private-sector company.

The drone strayed to the north of the ministry’s property at around 1 p.m., the ministry said, adding that a person unrelated to the ministry found what appears to be the same drone at around 6 p.m. Police recovered it near the ministry.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet has been seeking tighter rules on the use of unmanned aircraft after a drone with a small amount of radiation found on the roof of his office in April stoked fears that drones could be used for terrorist attacks.

The drone, bearing a radiation sticker, was equipped with a camera, what appeared to be two flares, and a brown container of a liquid that later turned out to have a small amount of cesium in it.

Yasuo Yamamoto, 40, a self-professed anti-nuclear activist was indicted in May over the stunt.

Tokyo prosecutors charged him with forcible obstruction of business at the prime minister’s office.

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