Police agency unveils draft bill to allow self-driving vehicles on Japan’s roads
Japan Times -- Dec 21
The National Police Agency on Thursday unveiled a draft bill that would allow vehicles with a high level of autonomous features to run on public roads, with an eye toward implementing the legislation in the first half of 2020.

The bill to revise the nation’s road traffic law would enable travel for what the government classifies as level 3 autonomous vehicles. Such vehicles can allow drivers to shift their attention elsewhere and let the system drive, except for during emergencies and system glitches that would require them to take back control.

In the initial stage, the government may only allow the use of level 3 self-driving technology during highway traffic jams.

Autonomous driving technology is classified into five categories. Under the current law, only level 1 vehicles that have one of either automated steering, acceleration or braking features and level 2 cars that have more than one of those automated functions are allowed to travel on public roads.

Level 4 pertains to vehicles that can drive themselves under certain conditions without human input, even in emergencies, and level 5 cars have complete autonomy without any conditional requirements.

The draft bill would allow drivers of level 3 cars to talk on their mobile phones or watch TV, actions that are prohibited for those behind the wheel in conventional vehicles, as long as they can smoothly take back control of the car.

Actions such as working on a computer in the rear seat, sleeping or drinking alcohol would remain prohibited.

Self-driving vehicles would be banned from traveling on public roads unless they are equipped with travel data recorders. Drivers would also be required to save their driving data.

2020年に実用化を目指している車の自動運転について、警察庁は20日、道路交通法の改正試案をまとめた。改正試案によると、自動運転中の携帯電話での通話や目的地の天気をスマートフォンで調べたり、車内でテレビやDVDを楽しむことができるようになるという。
News sources: Japan Times, ANNnewsCH
Jan 20
More than half a million high-school students and graduates across Japan are putting their knowledge to the test at unified college and university entrance exams. (NHK)
Jan 20
Police in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, have arrested an 80-year-old man on suspicion of murder after he threw oil on his 79-year-old wife and set fire to her inside a car. (Japan Today)
Jan 19
Japan's Epsilon-4 rocket has put into orbit seven small satellites that were developed by private-sector companies and universities. (NHK)
Jan 19
The body of a man struck by an oncoming train at a station in Fujimi City hit and injured two women on the platform, police said on Friday, reports TV Asahi. (tokyoreporter.com)
Jan 19
Kanagawa Prefectural Police are hunting for a gunman who shot the wife of a boss in the Inagawa-kai criminal syndicate and his male driver on a road in Kawasaki City on Thursday, reports TV Asahi (tokyoreporter.com)
Jan 18
A Japanese court has turned down an appeal from Carlos Ghosn's defense team over a decision to deny the former Nissan Motor chairman bail. (NHK)
Jan 18
A work of graffiti found at a Tokyo waterfront is receiving special treatment. (NHK)
Jan 17
A Japanese court has ruled that a subway firm's severe evaluation of personnel with beards or mustaches was unfair, and ordered that damages be paid. (NHK)
Jan 17
Executives at major Japanese food maker Ajinomoto say they are raising prices of instant soup stocks and salt for home use, citing higher costs. (NHK)
Jan 17
Tokyo Metropolitan Police are planning to send 10 men to prosecutors over an incident in which a mob damaged a truck during Halloween festivities in Shibuya Ward last year, reports TV Asahi (tokyoreporter.com)