After White House Lawn Crash, DJI’s Drone Now Finds Its Way to Abe’s Office Roof

Japan's PM Abe gestures as he delivers his speech during the ruling Liberal Democratic Party annual convention in Tokyo

Yue Wang

Chinese drone maker Da-Jiang Innovations (DJI) made international headlines in January when one of its Phantom-series drones crashed on the White House lawn, causing a security panic and highlighting the need for tighter rules on unmanned aircraft. Now the Phantom drone has once again found its way to another government building. This time it landed on the rooftop of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s office.

On Wednesday, the prime minister’s staff discovered the small aircraft on the building’s roof, and identified it as a Phantom drone. The aircraft was also found to be laced with traces of radiation. Low levels of Cesium 134 and 137 were found in a container attached to the 20-inch craft, according to Japan’s NHK. No injuries or damage were reported. The prime minister was in Indonesia for an Asian-African conference at the time of the incident.

Tokyo police are checking surveillance cameras today to figure out how the four-propeller drone landed, NHK reported. Police officers suspect that the unmanned aircraft was intentionally flown over Abe’s office. Japan must quickly prepare new legislation governing the use of drones, as they could be used for terrorist attacks at events such as the Olympics or the G-7 summit, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

A DJI spokesperson says the company condemns illegal and unsafe use of aerial technology. DJI is updating its no-fly zone list to include additional airports, government institutions and national borders worldwide, the person wrote in an e-mailed note. The company currently programs its drones to prevent users from flying them close to most airports. Users can also lower height limits to follow local regulations.