Transport Topics (http://www.ttnews.com/articles/drone-deliveries-ready-soar-japan-issues-linger) reports that the government in Japan is this year preparing to deregulate its drone laws to allow beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone deliveries to rural areas.
According to the news site: “After Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s announcement in 2015 that Japan will deregulate drone flights in three years, the government is expected to ease rules this year so drone pilots can fly multi-copters even without visual tracking, a safety regulation that requires flights made by unmanned aerial vehicles be monitored at all times…..Some rural municipalities are hopeful such flights can help seniors in depopulated areas keep stock of daily necessities.”
In 2017 in the city of Ina, Nagano Prefecture, population 68,000, conducted a drone delivery experiment three times in a mountainous depopulated area where about 40% of the residents are 65 or older, says the news site. As part of the tests a drone carried a 500-gram parcel about 400 meters from a shop to a customer’s home. “But in a test in November, a multicopter equipped with a float and a parachute detected an anomaly and made an emergency landing on a lake. Nevertheless, the tests confirmed the general convenience of drones, though the city still faces hurdles in getting them to work.”
According to the current laws as reported by http://dronelawjapan.com/ “An amendment to the Aviation Act came into effect December 10, 2015. The Act prohibits flying drones over residential areas or areas surrounding an airport without permission from the Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation.
Flying drones during night time and during an event is also prohibited. In addition, UAVs in unrestricted areas across the country are required to stay below 150 meters (492 feet), and also be kept at least 30 meters (98 feet) from people, buildings, and vehicles.”
Another news site (http://www.thedrive.com/tech/19797/japan-to-end-beyond-visual-line-of-sight-regulations-by-end-of-2018), in a story on March 30 reported that:
“According to The Japan Times, Japan’s transport and industry ministries announced new rules on Thursday, with plans of implementation scheduled for the end of 2018. BVLOS drone missions will be permitted, without the need of an operator maintaining visual line of sight, as long as the flight’s safety can be guaranteed remotely via cameras and sensors. How exactly they intend on ensuring such missions is yet to be clarified, but there are certainly enough proponents of this regulation to be altered or removed for this to be a victory for many.”