National / Crime & Legal

Over 100 people held for unauthorized drone flights in Japan in 2019

JIJI

Japanese police arrested or took other action against 115 people for civil aviation law violations linked to unauthorized drone flights in 2019, up 31 from the previous year, government data showed Thursday.

The National Police Agency tally included 51 foreign nationals, of whom 19, the largest group, were Chinese. Seven were from the United States.

Last year, the number of cases that led to police actions stood at 111. Of them, 54 cases happened as offenders tried to take commemorative pictures, while 34 cases were flight operation exercises, according to the NPA data.

The data suggests that restrictions on drone flights in Japan are not widely known to foreign tourists.

To address the problem, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department has created posters in English saying that flying drones without permission is prohibited in principle across most of the capital. The posters are hung at airports and elsewhere.

The aviation law includes a ban on flying drones over dense residential areas and airports without obtaining permission from the transport minister.

In May last year, the police department arrested a Japanese man who flew a drone without permission at night in a Tokyo park.

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