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U.S. Military Asks Japan To Prevent Drone Overflights Of Bases

Says The Aircraft Pose Safety And Security Risks

The U.S. military has formally asked Japan to stop people from flying over its bases using drones, citing safety and security concerns.

Stars and Stripes relays a report from the Asahi newspaper that says during a meeting with Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera in November, Adm. Harry Harris, head of U.S Pacific Command requested the action.

Air Force Col. John Hutcheson, a U.S. Forces Japan spokesman, told Stars and Stripes that drones have been seen operating in the vicinity of Camp Schwab, a Marine Corps facility on Okinawa. He said that it doesn't happen every day, "but it’s frequent enough to be a significant concern. “Oftentimes we can see the people flying [drones] but they are off the grounds of the installation."

Asahi reports that Adm. Harris said that there is a risk of a drone colliding with a military aircraft. In one incident, a helicopter had to turn sharply to avoid hitting a UAV, according to the paper.

Japanese law prevents drones from being flown near their own government buildings and facilities, but do not preclude such flights near U.S. installations. At Harris' request, the Japanese government is reportedly considering whether to expand its law to cover U.S bases.

In April, the FAA issued a ban of drone flights over military bases in the U.S.

(Image from file)

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