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Govt OKs bill to ban operating drones while drunk

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Diet enacted on Thursday a bill to prohibit the operations of drones while drunk.

The bill to revise the civil aviation law was approved at a plenary meeting that day of the House of Representatives, with support mainly from the Liberal Democratic Party-led ruling bloc. The House of Councillors passed it in April.

Under the revised law, which is expected to come into force as early as this autumn, a jail term of up to one year or a fine of up to ¥300,000 will be imposed on those who fly drones weighing 200 grams or more under the influence of alcohol or in other conditions in which normal operations of such unmanned aerial vehicles may not be ensured.

Failures to conduct proper pre-flight inspections and dangerous drone operations, such as making a sudden descent, will be subject to fines of up to ¥500,000.

Under its relevant guidelines, the transport ministry has so far called on people not to operate drones under the influence of alcohol.

By banning operating drone while frunk and introducing penalties on violators, the ministry aims to better prevent accidents and other problems related to drones. There were 79 reports of drone accidents across the country in fiscal 2018, according to the ministry.

Also under the revised law, a system will be established in which aircraft makers collect information on plane glitches from airlines and report such cases to the government, ahead of the first delivery planned for mid-2020 of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, the first Japanese-developed small passenger jet. The MRJ is being developed by Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp., under the wing of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. Speech

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