Revised ordinance targets to impose penalty for kite flying and laser irradiation near U.S. military base

October 31, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

At the Cabinet meeting held on October 25, the government decided to partially revise the enforcement ordinance of special provisions within the Japanese aviation law in order to impose a penalty for kite flying and laser shooting toward aircraft near U.S. military bases, as well as civilian airports.

The revised ordinance will be enforced from December 21. Violators will receive a fine of 500,000 yen or less.
While U.S. military operations are excluded from regulations under the Japanese aviation law, law enforcers will crackdown on behaviour that might pose a risk to U.S. military aircraft.

Japan’s aviation law aims to secure the safety of aircraft operation, but the U.S. military’s operations are excluded from these regulations under exceptional provisions based on the Japan-U.S. Status Agreement.

Therefore, U.S. military aircraft are not bound by the limitation on the minimum safe altitude in the aviation law. U.S military aircraft repeat low altitude flights without restriction on the flight area regulated by the aviation law.

The revision, paragraph 2 of Article 99 of the aviation law, which prohibits “acts affecting aviation”, will apply to the U.S. military aircraft. However, it will not regulate the U.S. military’s operation.
A Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transportation official said, “Laser irradiation to U.S. military aircraft became a problem last year, so the revision is necessary to crackdown (on such threats).”

Protesting citizens flew kites and let off balloons when the U.S. military deployed MV-22 Osprey aircraft to U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan. Such actions will be regulated in the future.

(English translation by T&CT)

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