Civil Aviation Bureau

Japan’s safety rules on Unmanned Aircraft (UA)

Background
     An amendment to the Aeronautical Act was issued on Sep. 11 2015 to introduce safety rules on Unmanned Aircraft (UA). The new rules came into force on Dec. 10 2015. The details of the rules are as follows:
 
Definition
     The term “UA” means any airplane, rotorcraft, glider or airship which cannot accommodate any person on board and can be remotely or automatically piloted (Excluding those lighter than 200g. The weight of a UA includes that of its battery.).

 
Prohibited Airspace for Flight
     Any person who intends to operate a UA in the following airspaces is required to obtain permission from the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.
 
(A) Airspace above 150m above ground level.
(B) Airspace around airports. (airspaces above approach surface, horizontal surface, transitional surface, extended approach surface, conical surface and outer horizontal surface. For further details, please refer http://www.mlit.go.jp/koku/koku_tk10_000004.html (available only in Japanese))
(C) Above Densely Inhabited Districts (DID), which are defined and published by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. (For the further details, please refer http://maps.gsi.go.jp/#8/35.563512/140.339355/&base=std&ls=std%7Cdid2010%7Ckokuarea&disp=111&lcd=kokuarea&vs=c1j0l0u0f0&d=vl (available only in Japanese))
 

 
Operational Limitations
     Any person who intends to operate a UA is required to follow the operational conditions listed below, unless approved by the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.
 
(i) Operation of UAs in the daytime.
(ii) Operation of UAs within Visual Line of Sight (VLOS).
(iii) Maintenance of 30m operating distance between UAs and persons or properties on the ground/ water surface.
(iv) Do not operate UAs over event sites where many people gather.
(v) Do not transport hazardous materials such as explosives by UA.
(vi) Do not drop any objects from UAs.


 
Exception
     Requirements stated in “Airspace in which Flights are Prohibited” and “Operational Limitations” are not applied to flights for search and rescue operations by public organizations in case of accidents and disasters.
 
Penalty
     If the above rules are violated, the UAV operator is liable for a fine of up to 500,000 yen.

Permission & Approval
    You are required to submit an application in Japanese for the permission or approval to the Ministry of Land Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism at least 10 days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays) before you fly a UA. For further information, please contact UA Counseling Service.

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