Moral Issue of DronesForeign Tourists' Also Filming above Shrines and Temples despite Ban24 February 2016 - Temples/Shrines
More than two months have passed since the amended Civil Aeronautics Act came into effect to regulate drone flying. While a wave of permit applications for drones have been submitted to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, many shrines and temples in Kyoto take different attitudes towards drones: generally they prohibit the use of drones, however, some grant approval, depending on the application contents. Although safety concerns remain, drones are expected to be useful, such as for their utilization at disaster sites as promoted by local governments. Their proper use in accordance with the rules is required.
"A couple was flying a drone to film in the temple precincts." An office worker of Kiyomizu-dera Temple, a World Heritage Site in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, explained, recalling an incident in January. A foreign man and woman were trying to film the temple grounds. Flying drones in the precincts is banned. The worker said, "I didn't know if it was illegal or not, but it could be dangerous if the drone crashed, so I asked them to stop."
According to the Association of Shinto Shrines of Kyoto Prefecture and others, most of the shrines and temples, including Shimogamo Shrine in Sakyo Ward, "Kinkaku-ji," or the Golden Pavilion, in Kita Ward, To-ji Temple in Minami Ward and others likewise prohibit drones. A high-ranking officer of the said association, stated, "In addition to safety concerns, they may well be of the opinion that objects of worship, such as principal statues and buildings, should not be looked down on from above."
After the legal amendment last December, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism received 2,010 permit applications for drones by February 8, and 1,065 of them have been approved. More than half were for the purpose of filming. In response to an increasing number of people wishing for airborne filming, Ninna-ji Temple in Ukyo Ward has introduced an in-advance application system on its own accord. After confirming an applicant's insurance coverage, filming technique and other points, drone filming will be allowed only before the gate's opening, or after the gate's closing.
While restrictions are being intensified, drones are expected to be useful at disaster sites due to their high-level filming capacity and convenience. Kyoto Prefectural Government concluded an agreement with concerned organizations in January to utilize drones to conduct damage-status surveys and search for missing people. Using them to check high bridges is also under consideration. Shiga Prefectural Government has been promoting their active utilization in case of disaster, such as when drones were flown to locate mudslides caused by Typhoon No. 18 last September. The person in charge said, "Drones can turn in a smaller radius and contribute to quicker situational awareness than helicopters."(translated by Galileo, Inc.)