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Drone bearing radiation symbol lands on Japanese Prime Minister's office

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Police detect 'minuscule' levels of radiation from device

A drone marked with a radiation symbol has landed on the roof of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's office, on the same day a court approved the restart of a nuclear power station that has lain dormant since the 2011 Fukushima disaster. The small drone, reportedly some 50 centimeters long, was discovered on the roof on Wednesday morning at around 10:20AM local time. Abe himself is currently out of the country.

According to The Guardian, the drone was carrying a small camera, a water bottle, and a flare. The Asahi Shimbun says the vehicle was also fitted with a small canister. Aerial footage from the scene appeared to show the device, first covered by a small piece of cardboard, before being obscured by a large blue tent erected by officials. Japan's NHK News says police analyzed the drone and detected extremely low levels of radiation, but that it would not be sufficient to affect the human body.

A Japanese court today approved the restart of nuclear power plants

It's not yet clear what the purpose of the drone was, but it appears likely, given the radiation symbol on its chassis, that the stunt was designed to protest Japan's restart of its nuclear power facilities. All 48 of the country's facilities are currently offline, having been slowly shut down in the wake of 2011's Fukushima disaster. Abe's government has pushed for them to be brought back online, but has faced opposition from citizens, thousands of whom have turned out to rally against the plans.

Despite the protests, Japan appears to be close to restarting its nuclear power program. Earlier today, a court in the southwestern region of Kagoshima rejected a legal bid by residents to block the reopening of a local nuclear power station, leaving the plant's operator, Kyushu Electric Power, with one final safety inspection before it can re-open the facility. Last week, a court in the country's central Fukui region sided with residents in a case against Kansai Electric Power, granting them an injunction that halted the restart of a local nuclear plant.