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Ministry of Defense: Unauthorized drone flights can cause serious disruption to the defense

From X
The Department of Defense has determined that a video reposted on X of the Marine Self-Defense Force destroyer Izumo was likely taken by an unauthorized drone.

The Defense Department said Thursday it is taking “extremely seriously” the posting on social media of a video of a Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer believed to have been taken by an unauthorized drone and which it acknowledges is very likely authentic is.

Flying a drone over a base without permission from the facility’s managers is prohibited under the Drone Act.

After analyzing video showing the destroyer Izumo docked at an MSDF base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, the ministry said it “could cause a serious hindrance to defense.”

The video, which lasts about 20 seconds, contains an inscription written in Japanese, English and Chinese that a Chinese spy had used a drone to fly over the Izumo, which at 248 meters in length is one of the largest in the MSDF destroyers.

According to the announcement, the video and still images were uploaded to a Chinese video-sharing site on March 26 and reposted to X (formerly Twitter) on March 29. It quickly went viral.

The ministry concluded that based on its analysis of the destroyer’s shapes, nearby buildings, vegetation and other objects seen in the footage, there was little chance it was fabricated. The video shows what appears to be the ship’s deck as it slowly moves from the stern to the bow.

The ministry did not respond to questions about the date and time of the video, claiming that releasing such information would reveal its intelligence-gathering capabilities. A source close to the case said the MSDF was informed of the video on March 30.

A ministry official acknowledged that no countermeasures had been taken to forcibly shoot down the drone. “If we had dealt with this [the flight], [the drone] would not have gone so smoothly,” the official said, adding that the video did not contain information that should be kept confidential.

Another video posted under the same account name shows an aerial view of a warship believed to be the USS Ronald Reagan, a US aircraft carrier docked at the US Naval Base in Yokosuka.

The ministry carefully investigated why the Izumo video was posted, including the possibility that it was part of an information war.

The ministry is considering installing high-tech equipment that detects drones and blocks radio waves to shoot them down.

Asked about the Izumo video at a press conference on Thursday, Lin Jian, deputy director general of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s press unit, said: “I don’t know where the footage came from,” indicating China’s position that it was not involved.

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