Police are looking into a number of witness reports of drones being flown Thursday night near the Imperial Palace and other locations in Tokyo linked to the imperial family, investigative sources said.
The Metropolitan Police Department began receiving reports from riot police in central Tokyo after 8 p.m. of drones flying near the Imperial Palace and the Akasaka Estate, currently home to a few members of the imperial family including Emperor Naruhito, who ascended the throne Wednesday, the sources said.
Witnesses said the drones flew above the imperial residences through late Thursday and had flashing red and white lights, according to the sources.
A drone was also witnessed flying near the Musashino Imperial Graveyard in Hachioji, western Tokyo, where imperial family members — including the great-grandfather and grandfather of Emperor Naruhito — are buried.
The law prohibits the operation of drones in central areas of cities, densely built-up areas and around airports. People are also banned from flying them at night anywhere in the country.