Civil Aviation Bureau

Japan’s safety rules on Unmanned Aircraft (UA)/Drones

Background
     An amendment to the Aeronautical Act was issued on Sep. 11, 2015 to introduce safety rules on Unmanned Aircraft (UA)/Drones. The new rules came into force on Dec. 10, 2015. The details of the rules are as follows:
 
Definition
     The term “UA/Drone” 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/Drone includes that of its battery.)

 
Prohibited Airspace for Flight
     Any person who intends to operate a UA/Drone in the following airspaces is required to obtain permission from the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.
 
(A) Airspace around airports. (airspaces above approach surface, horizontal surface, transitional surface, extended approach surface, conical surface and outer horizontal surface.)
* As of September 18, 2019, Airspace below approach surface, transitional surface and above the airport premises is added to a no-fly zone at the following airports; New Chitose Airport, Narita International Airport, Tokyo International Airport, Chubu International Airport, Kansai International Airport, Osaka International Airport, Fukuoka Airport, Naha Airport.
(B) Airspace at or above 150m above ground level.
(C) Above Densely Inhabited Districts (DID), which are defined and published by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

  * For the further details of (B) and (C), please refer to
http://maps.gsi.go.jp/#8/35.563512/140.339355/&base=std&ls=std%7Cdid2010%7Ckokuarea&disp=111&lcd=kokuarea&vs=c1j0l0u0f0&d=vl
http://maps.gsi.go.jp/#10/35.633861/139.783173/&base=english&ls=english|did2010|kokuarea&disp=111&lcd=english&vs=c1j0l0u0f0&d=v
Please click "OK",you can confirm the areas of (A) and (C).
Green area : (A) Airspace around airports
Red area    : (C) Densely Inhabited Distri



Operational Limitations
      Regardless of where you fly, you must follow the rules listed below when flying a UA/Drone:
     * Rules [1]-[4] will be added on September 18th, 2019.
 

[1] Do not operate UA/Drones under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
[2] Fly and operate UA/Drones after preflight actions.
[3] Operate UA/Drones to prevent collision hazards with airplanes and other UAs/Drones.
[4] Do not operate UA/Drones in a careless or reckless manner.
[5] Fly and operate UA/Drones in the daytime.
[6] Operate UA/Drones within Visual Line of Sight (VLOS).
[7] Keep a 30m or more operating distance between UA/Drones and persons or properties on the ground/water surface.
[8] Do not operate UA/Drones over event sites where many people gather.
[9] Do not transport hazardous materials such as explosives by UA/Drone.
[10] Do not drop any objects from UAs/Drones.

     If you intend to fly a UA/Drone regardless of rules [5] to [10] above, you must obtain approval from the Regional Civil Aviation Bureau in advance.
 
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. (Exception for part of the rules.)
 
Penalty
    
 If the above rules are violated, the UAV operator is liable for a fine of up to 500,000 yen.
     (* If [1] is violated, the UAV operator is liable for imprisonment for up to one year or a fine of up to 300,000 yen.)
 
Permission & Approval
    
 You are required to submit an application in Japanese for 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/Drone. For further information, please contact the UA/Drone Counseling Service.



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