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Drunkenly operating a drone becomes a crime in Japan under new law, up to 1 year in prison

Updated: Jun 15, 2019

- Alex Wong | Japan Today

TOKYO - People in Japan operating drones under the influence could face up to a year in prison under a new law passed Thursday that aims to control the increasingly popular devices.

Drunkenly flying a drone weighing more than 200 grams could also result in a fine of up to 300,000 yen, after the lower house of the Diet passed the new legislation following a string of accidents.


Performing dangerous stunts with drones such as sharp plunges will also be subject to fines of up to 500,000 yen.


"We believe operating drones after consuming alcohol is as serious as (drink) driving," a transport ministry official told AFP.


The rules come as Japan sees a rising amount of drone usage as well as related accidents.

In 2017, an industrial-sized drone was deployed at a "robot festival" in Ogaki, Gifu Prefecture, and was supposed to shower small children with sweets.


But the device, operated by a qualified individual, injured six people after plunging 10 meters to the ground.


Japan has also had to confront issues with tourists flying drones in congested tourist areas like Kyoto.


Last month, Japan passed a set of laws to ban drones over Tokyo 2020 Olympic sites and U.S. military facilities, after banning them over key facilities like the Prime Minister's Office and the Imperial Palace.


Original article at Japan Today, here.

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