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Japan to ban unauthorised drone flights over US military sites


Japan to ban unauthorised drone flights over US military sites

japan drones
Photo: AP

A ban on unauthorised drone flights over US military bases in Japan will today take effect.

Citing terrorism concerns, the restrictions are part of a revised drone regulation law passed last year. The ban has prompted transparency concerns from Japan’s Newspaper Publishers & Editors association. Recent videos of US soldiers celebrating Independence Day without masks and the controversial relocation of an Okinawan base have exacerbated fears of increasingly limited public access to information about the bases.

Nevertheless, the US bases are a key link in Japan’s defence given its constitutional limitations regarding the formation of a modern military. Tokyo and Washington are set to engage in dialogue later this year, and leaders will likely discuss reforms to the current military arrangement and burden-sharing between the two allies. Chinese belligerence in East Asia’s waterways is likely to feature at these talks, especially regarding the dispute over the Japanese-controlled Senkaku islands, where China has shown increasing willingness to test Japanese defences. The results of these talks will depend on the outcome of the US presidential election, with Japan likely to accept more burden-sharing should Donald Trump win re-election.

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