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The Defense Ministry will begin research on ways to ward off drone attacks by using vehicle-mounted lasers, according to informed sources.

By mounting laser equipment on vehicles, the ministry aims to raise the mobility of the system.

The ministry included ¥2.8 billion in research spending in its budget for fiscal 2021. It aims to establish related technology as early as fiscal 2024 and put it into practical use at an early date.

In fiscal 2018, the ministry started research on using high-energy lasers to destroy drones. In fiscal 2021, it plans to start demonstration tests on high-output laser equipment small enough to be mounted on vehicles.

Moreover, the ministry included ¥500 million in its fiscal 2021 budget to continue research on the use of microwaves, a kind of electromagnetic wave, to knock out drones.

As it is difficult to downsize microwave equipment, the ministry is considering installing such equipment on vessels, the sources said.

There are concerns that drones may be misused by terrorists as they can be acquired at a low cost.

In August 2018, drones carrying explosives were used in an attempt to assassinate Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. In September 2019, an oil facility in Saudi Arabia suffered large-scale damage as a result of a drone attack.

In Japan, a drone carrying a radioactive substance landed on the roof of the Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo in April 2015.

The ministry plans to speed up efforts to work out countermeasures, also in view of China’s development of military drones.

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