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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 May 15 - 21  > Drone flights banned within 300M of US bases
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2019 May 15 - 21 [POLITICS]

Drone flights banned within 300M of US bases

May 18, 2019
Flights of unmanned aerial vehicles "drones" will be banned over and around U.S. military facilities and SDF bases. The Liberal Democratic, Komei, and "Nippon Ishin no Kai" parties used their majority force to enact a revised law at the House of Councilors plenary session on May 17.

The Japanese Communist Party together with the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the Democratic Party for the People, and the Okinawa Whirlwind voted against the proposed amendments.

With this revised law, illegal acts taking place inside U.S. bases, namely at the U.S. base construction site in Henoko in Okinawa's Nago City, will be kept out of the public eye.

The revised law prohibits drone flights within 300 meters of U.S. military facilities, U.S.-controlled zones, and SDF bases. The law also allows police officers and SDF members to capture or destroy drones. Violators will face up to one year in prison or a fine of up to 500,000 yen.

The Japan Newspaper Publishers and Editors Association on the same day issued a statement criticizing the new law for restricting the media's news-gathering activities and seriously infringing on the public's right to know.

JCP lawmaker Tamura Tomoko also expressed her opposition to the amendments during an Upper House committee meeting on the previous day. She said that the revision is to curry favor with the U.S. by putting the focus on the Japan-U.S. security setup while ignoring press freedom and people's right to know guaranteed by the Constitution as fundamental human rights.

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