In fact, in December the city of Chiba was designated as a special zone for drone development, freeing it up from the rules governing drones in other parts of the country.
This move was in keeping with Prime Minister Shinzō Abe's promise to industry groups in November to speed up drone-based parcel delivery mechanisms.
"We will aim to make parcel delivery by drone a reality, as soon as three years from now. For this purpose the government will immediately establish the Public-Private Council, in which users and the relevant ministries and agencies will discuss the specific structural and systemic requirements."
To aid this plan, the city wants its upcoming condominiums and highrises to have, on each of their balconies, a "landing area" for drones.
The drone trial is also a sort of R&D exercise that will help the drone builders fine-tune their machines, ensuring that the drones work smoothly, even in adverse weather conditions. It will also help in setting up a "traffic control" for drones, a system that makes sure drones do not collide with each other or with other flying objects in the sky (or even with static objects like electric poles, wires, etc).
This drone trial is not the first one in Japan. In February, drones were tested in the rural areas of Tokushima prefecture too, according to another Japan Times report. The aim of this experimental demo was to deliver food parcels to elderly citizens living in sparsely populated regions.