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Japan to open its skies to commercial drones

Personnel shortages prompt deregulation to help lift productivity

A drone delivers drinks to surfers on a Fukushima beach on a test flight.   © Kyodo

TOKYO -- Japan will begin allowing commercial drones to deliver packages in remote areas this summer with a view to urban operation in a few years as labor-strapped companies look to take advantage of the technology.

The government will revise screening standards under the aviation law to let drones fly beyond the operator's line of sight on distant islands and mountainous regions to speed commercial use. 

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