Japan starts national license exams to fly drones under eased restrictions

Japan has started exams for a new national license for operating drones. The move comes after the government relaxed its restrictions on drone flights last December.

A new national license is needed to fly drones beyond the operators' line of sight in populated areas. To obtain a license for these so-called level-four flights, examinees will have to pass written and practical tests as well as physical exams.

A total of 40 people are expected to take written exams on Monday.

Applications for the exams can be submitted to 160 test sites across the country.

Starting this month, applications for practical tests will also be accepted. The tests will be waived if examinees have completed training programs at drone schools that have been registered with the government.

Authorities are now checking the safety of drones that will be used for level-four flights.

The transport ministry says the first such flight is expected to be made as early as March.