• Kyodo

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A northeastern city renowned for its cherry blossom is teaming up with a software developer to film the scene using drones, in a bid to boost tourism and assist in the upkeep of the trees.

Senboku in Akita Prefecture, which boasts the cherry trees in its Kakunodate district, is one of the several areas nationwide designated as special zones where the use of drones for public purposes is allowed. This is intended to encourage economic revitalization.

Infoteria Corp. will provide the technology and donate ¥1 million toward the care of the trees.

Technicians flew a drone along a river bank in the city Wednesday, shooting vistas of early blossom.

City authorities plan to put together drone footage optimized for smartphones to promote tourism, and to use the drones to guide arborists when they prune the trees.

“We’re using cutting-edge technology to take care of the cherry trees, and hope people around the world will see the footage as well,” Senboku Mayor Mitsuhiro Kadowaki said.

Starting this fiscal year, the city plans to apply to receive revenue contributions from around the country through the furusato nozei (hometown tax donations) system.

Drone flights are more restricted in many other areas of Japan, after an amendment to the aviation law in December banned their flight over crowded residential areas without government permission.

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