Drones: Domestic Use

Drone with Radioactive Material Lands on Japanese Prime Minister's Office

By Benjamin Wittes
Wednesday, April 22, 2015, 8:10 PM

So reports the Guardian:

Japanese authorities have launched an investigation after a small drone reportedly containing traces of radiation was found on the roof of the prime minister’s office, sparking concerns about drones and their possible use for terrorist attacks.

No injuries or damage was reported from the incident on Wednesday. The prime minister, Shinzo Abe, who is at present in Indonesia, works at the building during the day and commutes from his own private home roughly 15 minutes away.

Police said it was not immediately known who was responsible for the drone.

The significance was not immediately clear, but a Japanese court on Wednesday approved the restart of a nuclear power station, rejecting nuclear power safety worries in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima radiation disaster.

Adds CNN:

Dozens of police investigators were dispatched to the roof to investigate the origin of the drone, which had four propeller and was 50 centimeters (20 inches) wide.

Police say the drone was equipped with a small camera, smoke flares and a plastic bottle containing small traces of a radioactive material believed to be cesium, a common byproduct of nuclear reactors.

Cesium was also discovered in areas around the failed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant after its 2011 meltdown.

Investigators suspect the cesium was placed in the bottle. The amount inside is not immediately harmful to humans.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the discovery is raising concerns about terrorism.

"There might be terrorism attempts in the future at the Olympics and G7 Summit using drones," Suga said. "So we need to examine and review continuously the way small unmanned vehicles like drones should be operated and how to cope with the threat of terrorism from drones. The government will do all that we can to prevent terrorism."

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