The government plans to require drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) that fly over Japan to broadcast pre-registered identification (ID) numbers. The purpose of this requirement is to help the police and other authorities to identify illegal drones. Drones that are unable to transmit their ID numbers while flying near airports or other areas may be shot down from the ground. The new regulation is aimed at preventing terrorism and espionage and creating a safe environment for promoting drone-related business.
The proposal will be a part of amendment to the aviation act slated for submission to the current Diet session. The amendment includes the establishment of a new online system for registering information on drones, including the owner, operator, serial number, and telephone number. When a drone is registered in the system, an ID is issued that resembles a vehicle license plate.
The regulation also requires drones to carry wireless transmitters for ID transmission. While the ID plate displayed on a drone may not be easy to recognize from the ground when the vehicle is flying at a high altitude, the drone can be identified and tracked from anywhere through the transmitter signal. Very small drones under a certain weight, such as toy drones, will be exempted from the new regulation.
If the new law is enacted during the current Diet session, it will likely be implemented in FY2020. Only drones purchased after the law comes into force will be subject to the new regulation.