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Japan may relax its drone rules to protect crops

The nation is mulling the creation of "special drone zones" where UAVs can fly.
Daniel Cooper, @danielwcooper
January 26, 2016
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Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Japan is leery about the threat drones possess after one deposited radioactive material on the home of its Prime Minister. That doesn't mean that the country doesn't recognize their potential as well, which is why it's currently mulling a relaxation of its tight rules. According to the Yomiuri Shimbum / Japan News, officials are planning "special drone zones," that'll enable UAVs to be flown around island regions and mountains. Initially, the technology will be tested to see if it can serve a practical purpose away from densely-populated urban regions.

For instance, researchers will see if drones can be used to chase away animals that are attacking farm crops. In addition, the country will examine if the craft are an effective method to convey emergency medical supplies to remote areas. The paper cites Okutama, which was cut off by heavy snow two years ago, as an example where flying cargo drones could prove useful. Finally, the tech is expected to prove useful when monitoring remote islands that are uninhabited by humans, but stuffed full of rare wildlife and plants. Maybe the country can retrofit its new anti-drone drone to snatch up poachers looking to cause environmental havoc.

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