The Drone Act

Flying drones, etc. over and around certain key facilities is prohibited under the Drone Act.

Drone flights are restricted by two laws: the Drone Act and the Aviation Act.
All drones, etc., including those less than 200g, are within the scope of the Drone Act.
Drones that weigh 200g or more are within the scope of the Aviation Act.
● Information about the Aviation Act
Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism HP

Contents(目次)

News
What is the Drone Act?
Exceptions
Necessary Procedures
Countermeasures and Penalties
Links

News(お知らせ)

For the Olympic and Paralympic Games

Areas above and around certain Games-related facilities and airports are to be designated as flight restriction zones under the Drone Act.
For more information, see below.
● Japan Sports Agency HP

What is the Drone Act?(規制の概要)

Under the Drone Act, flying drones, etc. over and around certain key facilities is prohibited.

Flights subject to the Drone Act
(規制の対象となる小型無人機等の飛行)

(ⅰ) Flying an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) of any weight such as
・a radio-controlled aircraft
・an unmanned glider, a drone
(ⅱ) Flying in a specific aircraft such as
・a baloon
・a hang glider
・a paraglider

Flight restriction zones(飛行禁止場所) 

(ⅰ)  Red zone(レッド・ゾーン)
   Over the site of a facility covered by the Drone Act
(ⅱ)  Yellow zone(イエロー・ゾーン)
   Within approximately 300 meters of a red zone

Facilities covered by the Drone Act(対象施設)

Types of facilities covered by the Drone Act

(ⅰ) Key national facilities, etc.
 (国の重要な施設等)
・ National Diet Building, Prime Minister's Office, Supreme Court, Imperial Palace, etc.
  (国会議事堂、内閣総理大臣官邸、最高裁判所、皇居等)
・ Office buildings of administrative authorities for crisis management
(危機管理行政機関の庁舎)
・ Political parties' offices*
(対象政党事務所)
(ⅱ) Foreign diplomatic establishments, etc.*
 (対象外国公館等)
(ⅲ) Defense-related facilities*
 (対象防衛関係施設)
(ⅳ) Nuclear sites*
 (対象原子力事業所)
 *These facilities are covered by the Drone Act upon designation by relevant authorities pursuant to the Act.
 
For more details, see below. (NPA HP)

Flight restriction zone map of central Tokyo

 対象施設周辺地域全体図
Magnified view of the map

Exceptions(飛行禁止の例外)

The ban on flights by the Drone Act does not apply if one of the following conditions is met:
(ⅰ) Flight by or with the consent of the administrator of a relevant facility
・When obtaining consent from an administrator, written consent is necessary.
(ⅱ) Flight by or with the consent of the landowner, etc.
・An owner, etc. of land or the person who has consent from such a person can fly only over the land.
・When obtaining consent from a landowner, etc., written consent is necessary.
(ⅲ) Flight for the national or a local government
・When flying an aircraft to carry out national or local governmental affairs, you need to prepare a proof (such as a contract).

[Attention]
Over the sites of defense-related facilities covered by the Drone Act, flights are more strictly restricted:
Flights in a red zone require consent from the administrator.
(Even the landowner may not fly drones, etc. over the land without consent from the administrator.)
For more details, see below.

Necessary Procedures(必要な通報手続)

Even in an exceptional case where the ban on flights by the Drone Act does not apply, when flying a drone, etc. in a flight restriction zone, you must report the flight information to the Prefectural Public Safety Commission via the police station having jurisdiction at least 48 hours before the flight.

Some facilities require additional procedures.
For more details, see below. (NPA HP)

Countermeasures and Penalties
(違反に対する措置・罰則)

Countermeasures

If an aircraft is flying in violation of the Drone Act, police officers may take necessary actions such as ordering to stop the flight.
In case of an emergency, police officers may block the flight or destroy the aircraft.
(Depending on the facility, Imperial Guard, Coast Guard or Self-Defense Force officers may also take necessary actions.)

Penalties

If you do not obey a police officer’s instruction or fly a drone, etc. in a red zone, you shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than one year or a fine of not more than 500,000 yen.

Links

〇 About the Drone Act (NPA HP) 〇 About the Aviation Act (MLIT HP) 〇 Japanese page(NPA HP)