August 7, 2020 Ryukyu Shimpo online edition
On August 7 the Ministry of Defense (MOD) designated 15 U.S. military bases, such as Camp Schwab and Kadena Air Base, as sites subject to the Drone Act, under which the flight of drones is prohibited. This is the first time U.S. military bases have been designated as subject to the Drone Act. There were 14 Self-Defense Force (SDF) sites, such as the Air Self-Defense Force Naha Base, that were additionally designated. It has been made known that the US military bases will be subject to the Drone Act starting on September 6, and the SDF bases will be subject starting on August 17. As such, flying drones within 300 meters surrounding the sites will be principally prohibited, and an agreement will be necessary to do so.
On Camp Schwab in Henoko, Nago City, where construction of the Futenma Replacement Facility (FRF) is moving forward, not only will the land portion be within the scope of prohibition of drone flights, the water area will also be included. Currently, news media and citizens’ groups are flying drones to confirm the status of construction off the coast of Camp Schwab. There is increasing concern about the likelihood that this designation will restrict such activities.
Last year the Drone Act was amended such that “defense-related facilities”, such as U.S. military and SDF facilities, were added as areas subject to drone flight restrictions. This made it such that the MOD was able to principally prohibit the flight of drones over U.S. military bases, water training areas, SDF facilities, and 300 meters therearound. Last year in June and September, the MOD designated, as facilities subject to the Drone Act, government office buildings in Ichigaya, Tokyo and a total of 27 SDF bases. Including the additional designations made on August 7, SDF facilities subject to the Drone Act have reached a total of 41 sites.
After this point the MOD intends to expand the facilities, such as U.S. military bases and SDF facilities, subject to the Drone Act in steps.
(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)
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The defense-related facilities newly designated as no-fly zones for drones are as follows.[U.S. military sites] Army: Sahriki Communications Site (Aomori), Camp Zama (Kanagawa), Kyogamisaki Communications Site (Kyoto)
Navy: Atsugi Base (Kanagawa), Yokosuka Base (Kanagawa), Sasebo Naval Base (Nagasaki), Tategami Pier (Nagasaki)
Air Force: Misawa Air Base (Aomori), Yokota Air Base (Kyoto), Kadena Air Base
Marines: Iwakuni Base (Yamaguchi, including water area), Camp Schwab, Camp Hansen (including water area), Camp Foster, Futenma Air Station [SDF sites] Ground Self-Defense Forces: Camp Asahikawa (Hokkaido), Camp Obihiro (Hokkaido), Camp Jinmachi (Yamagata), Camp Somagahara (Gunma)
Maritime Self-Defense Forces: Iwakuni Air Station (Yamaguchi), Omura Air Base (Nagasaki)
Air Self-Defense Forces: Chitose Base (Hokkaido), Misawa Base (Aomori), Hyakuri Base (Ibaraki), Hamamatsu Base (Shizuoka), Komatsu Base (Ishikawa), Tsuiki Base (Fukuoka), Nyutabaru Base (Nagasaki), Naha Base