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Japanese authorities waking up to drones, ban flights in all of Tokyo’s public parks

Drone ownership in the U.S. may be mushrooming, but in countries such as Japan they’re taking a while to catch on. As the technology’s popularity steadily increases, the authorities there are only recently starting to impose wider restrictions with Tokyo-based quadcopter enthusiasts now banned from flying their new toy in any of the city’s 81 public parks.

The city’s local government announced the ruling this week, citing safety concerns. Violaters could be fined up to 50,000 yen ($420), the Japan Times reported.

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The development comes three weeks after a man flew a quadcopter carrying a small amount of radioactive material onto the roof of the Prime Minister’s office in the Japanese capital. Yasuo Yamamoto told cops he was protesting against the government’s pro-nuclear policy.

The story understandably gained widespread attention in the country, bringing the technology to the attention of lawmakers who quickly announced plans to examine more closely how the machines are used.

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As a direct result of the incident, the government recently unveiled a draft bill to ban drone flights over government buildings. Future changes to the law could also force drone sellers to submit to the government personal information about buyers.

Compared to the U.S., restrictions on drone flights in Japan are pretty relaxed, although this recent action suggests life is about to get a whole lot harder for copter enthusiasts in the country.