Japan to require drone registration to find owners following accidents


Owners of drones will be required to register their remote-controlled aircraft with the government so officials can quickly identify them after accidents, according to the land ministry.

The government has yet to decide when to introduce the system, but it will include the necessary funding in the draft budget for next year, officials said Monday.

Under the envisioned registration system, drone owners will have to file online their name and address, as well as details of their drones, such as the manufacturer, model and weight, and submit personal identification documents. They will then receive a registration number that should be attached to the drone.

The aviation law, last revised in 2015, bans drone flights in densely populated areas, around airports and 150 meters or more above the ground without government approval.

Small drones weighing less than 200 grams, often sold as children’s toys and for hobbies, are not subject to the law.

Drones have been gaining popularity in recent years as tools for taking images and measurements and spraying agricultural chemicals on farmlands, among other tasks.

But the widespread use has also led to more accidents, with the ministry receiving reports of 79 drone incidents in fiscal 2018.

Earlier this year, a drone-like object was spotted at Kansai International Airport at least three times, prompting the closure of a runway and affecting more than 100 flights in total.

The ministry will also seek money in the 2020 budget for a system that can detect unauthorized drones flying around airports more quickly, the officials said.



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