In Yakuza Judgement, a detective agency often uses a quad-copter drone with a camera providing a live feed in the bustling city in Japan. One use they have for it (which is obviously problematic) is to snoop in buildings through windows.

But that usage aside, another way it's used is to remotely monitor one of their agents and provide back-up, without having to actually be there on the scene. Is using a drone like this legal? So long as you're not disturbing the peace and being dangerous, of course.

Since the game takes place in Japan (mainly Tokyo/Yokohama), my question is mainly directed there, but I'm also curious about what the law says about it in the United States, or other countries.

I am in particular reminded of the stories I've heard of disabled students using robots with cameras in order to attend school, which leads me to believe that this must be legal to a certain extent.

1 Answer 1


in operation of an unmanned airborne vehicle, aka UAV, aka Drone, inside a city might be legal, if a special license is obtained:

Drones may not be flown in the following manners without special permission from the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism: 150 meters (492 feet) above ground level; near airports; above densely inhabited areas, as defined by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

This means in reverse, that you could have such a special license, but that license needs to be obtained for each operation 10 days prior, may only be done in daytime and within line of sight between drone and operator. However, city centers are densily inhabited areas, so the default is banned.

However, in the countryside, flying a UAV does not require a special license, as long as the general other rules are followed (150 m above ground, 30 meters of any obstacle, daytime only, line of sight, etc). Among the requirements is also a total ban on alcohol at the control.

As a result, the operation as depicted is not lawful under the ordinary laws as they operate in our world, unless the drone operator has special permit.

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