Tokyo police found missing drone rented prior to Quad summit

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Metropolitan Police Department

The Metropolitan Police Department in May was searching for a missing drone that was rented in Tokyo just prior to a Quad summit and soon traced its location, it has been learned.

The police have since confirmed that the missing drone was sold for profit.

The MPD is on high alert as a drone could be used in a terrorist attack, such as at Tuesday’s state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

According to investigative sources, a drone rental agency in Tokyo reported to the MPD on May 6 that a drone it rented had not been returned. Police investigated the matter and found that the done was forwarded from the borrower’s home in Saitama Prefecture to an apartment in Minato Ward, Tokyo, sources said.

The apartment was located near U.S. President Joe Biden’s travel route during the May summit of the Quad security framework comprising Japan, the United States, Australia and India.

The MPD’s Public Security Bureau, which is in charge of counterterrorism, launched an investigation and searched the apartment on the eve of Biden’s arrival in Japan. It learned that a man in his 20s had sold the drone.

Drone capabilities have improved dramatically in recent years. For example, commercial drones carrying explosives are deployed on the battlefield.

In light of such advances, the revised Civil Aeronautic Law came into effect in June, and one of its provisions is that drone owners are required to register their name, address and the drone’s serial number.

The MPD is urging vendors to report anything suspicious when someone buys or rents a drone.