Japanese Drone Business Rallies for Earthquake Restoration Efforts

This article published in collaboration with JUIDA, the Japan UAS Industrial Development Association.

by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian J. McNabb

JUIDA, the Japan UAS Industrial Development Association, recently announced their participation in relief efforts after the recent Noto Peninsula earthquakes in early January 2024. After receiving a request from Wajima City, Ishikawa Prefecture on January 4th, (3 days after the magnitude 7.5 earthquake had struck the isolated peninsula north of Honshu), JUIDA began disaster recovery operations such as search and rescue and infrastructure inspection with the support of member corporations Blue Innovations and Liberaware. 

内閣府ホームページ利用規約, CC BY 4.0 

UAS operations were key to early on-the-ground efforts in the peninsula, where landslides left many rural villages isolated from relief efforts. Japanese cargo drone maker Skydrive partnered with the Japan Self-Defense Force to conduct surveillance and supply operations to check in on isolated villages and help deliver necessary supplies, while other companies partnered with the Department of Industry to check on crucial port infrastructure vital to the local fishing economy. 

In addition, drones were used to scout locations for emergency housing, including ongoing monitoring for future structural damage, and assess the impact of landslides on roads and bridges. On January 8th, a drone operated by Aeronext delivered vital medication to an isolated evacuation center at the Kusu Elementary School, the first time in Japan that a drone had been used to deliver drugs to a disaster-stricken area. Other medical supply missions included trips to Musu Elementary and the Nishio Community Center while crews worked to restore road access. 

JUIDA acted as a vital hub throughout the process, distributing resources and orchestrating operations between the many companies involved in partnership with the JSDF. A full list of all the companies involved, along with a more detailed description of their activities, is available here (in Japanese).

Read more about the potential for drones as first responders in the context of the Noto earthquakes here.

Ian McNabb is a staff writer based in Boston, MA. His interests include geopolitics, emerging technologies, environmental sustainability, and Boston College sports.


Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry.  Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.


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