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Ministry mulling tough safety regulation for aircraft makers

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The Mitsubishi Regional Jet on a test flight on Feb. 10, 2016

The Yomiuri Shimbun The transport ministry is considering establishing legal provisions concerning the safety management obligations of aircraft makers before the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), Japan’s first domestically produced small passenger jet, is put into commercial service.

The move is aimed at enhancing international confidence by establishing standards as strict as those in Europe and the United States.

The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry plans to implement a new system before the first MRJ is delivered in 2020. The plane is currently being developed by Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp.

Under the Convention on International Civil Aviation, governments of aircraft-producing countries should be held responsible for ensuring the safety of aircraft through the supervision of aircraft makers and by other means. In the United States, for example, aircraft makers such as Boeing are obliged to swiftly report information to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) about defects on an aircraft’s body or other issues.

However, in Japan, the safety management systems of airlines have gotten more attention, while laws and regulations related to the management responsibilities of aircraft makers have not been developed yet. This is because passenger airplanes have not been built in Japan for half a century since the production of the propeller aircraft YS-11, and so imported passenger aircraft have been used.

Ahead of the delivery of the MRJ in 2020, the transport ministry has set up an expert panel to discuss how to make clear the responsibilities of makers. These include the responsibility to collect information on aircraft defects from domestic and foreign airlines; quickly reporting information on serious problems to the transport ministry; and providing support for airlines on a routine basis so that airlines can quickly handle unexpected issues, such as to inform them of repair methods.

With an eye on revising the aviation law, the ministry aims to prepare the legal system within fiscal 2019 at the earliest.Speech

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