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Candy-carrying drone crashes into crowd, injuring six in Gifu

The Japan Times

GIFU – Six people, including children, were injured Saturday when a 4-kg drone that was distributing candy at an event in Ogaki, Gifu Prefecture, suddenly crashed into the crowd, the police said. Those hit by the drone ranged in age from 5 to 48, but most of the injuries were minor, such as scratches to foreheads and shoulders, the police said. The drone, about 85 cm in diameter and 55 cm high, was scattering sweets while hovering over a park in Ogaki as part of an event to showcase robotic technologies, the police said. The event was organized by a local tourism association. About 600 people, including about 100 children attending with their families, were on site at the time of the accident, the organizer said.

Group will use drone to help prevent suicide at remote Fukui Prefecture site

The Japan Times

A suicide prevention group will dispatch a drone to monitor remote areas around Tojinbo in Fukui Prefecture -- whose lonely cliffs remain romanticized in popular imagination as a destination where people go to end their lives -- in the hopes that the technology will enhance efforts to minimize the suicide rate. Retired police officer Yukio Shige, the 73-year-old head of the nonprofit group, said that although there has been a decline in the total number of people leaping off the cliffs in recent years, suicide remains a persistent problem. "This year we have managed to stop five people from committing suicide but five is a very small number; it's only one per month," Shige said, adding that far more still think about killing themselves. "So far we've monitored (Tojinbo) by ourselves but with the use of drones we could reach places that the human eye can't see." The group's 16 members -- made up of retired police officers, academics and company workers -- patrol the cliffs six times a week, from 11 a.m. until sunset.