Police are investigating witness reports of a drone being flown Monday evening near the Imperial Palace and other downtown Tokyo areas, after a number of similar sightings were noted last week following the ascension of Emperor Naruhito.
The flying of drones is banned in central Tokyo. Riot police observed what they thought was a drone flying over the Kitanomaru Garden located just north of the palace at around 7:30 p.m. Monday, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.
Further reports were made later saying a drone had been spotted flying over Tokyo’s Nagatacho district, where the country’s Diet and the Prime Minister’s Office are located, as well as in the Yotsuya and Roppongi areas of the city, according to the police.
The police searched the areas but failed to track down the pilot. The drone had multiple rotors and flashing lights, they said.
On Thursday night, the police received multiple reports of drones flying near the Imperial Palace and the Akasaka Estate, currently home to Emperor Naruhito and a few other members of the imperial family.
The emperor ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1.
A drone was also witnessed Thursday flying near the Musashi Imperial Graveyard in the city of Hachioji on the outskirts of Tokyo, where imperial family members including the great-grandfather and grandfather of Emperor Naruhito are buried.
It is illegal to fly drones in densely populated areas or near airports. Flying drones anywhere at night without permission is also prohibited.