The transport ministry will require drone operators to post all government-approved flight plans on a website open to the public to prevent accidents, including midair collisions involving civilian aircraft.

The arrangement will start at the end of this month on the ministry’s website based on the Aviation Law.

The skies over Japan have become increasingly crowded with the spreading use of unmanned aerial vehicles in recent years. Once seen as a vehicle for hobbyists, drones are now being used to spray agricultural chemicals, take aerial photographs, survey the land and transport goods.

In addition, drones are expected to fly more often in the coming months around the capital to take footage and perform other functions over sites of next year’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

The new rules regarding the ministry’s website are intended to share flight information with the public.

Operators planning to fly drones in air space where government approval is needed will be required to register their flight plans on the ministry’s dedicated site in advance.

The information required will include times, locations and altitudes of the flying robots, and the data will be shown on a map.

Members of the public will have access to that information if they register with the site, even if they are not drone operators.

Under the Aviation Law, operators of drones weighing at least 200 grams are required to obtain government approval for flights with an altitude of 150 meters or higher.

They also need government approval for drone flights near an event venue, above a crowded residential area, at night, or out of the vision of the operator.

The number of applications for drone flights stood at 951 in December 2015, when the permit system began, according to government figures. But the figure had jumped to 4,242 in May this year.

However, few operators have registered their flight plans on the ministry’s website because the step was not mandatory. As a result, information available on the site was limited.

The wider use of drones has led to a rise in the number of problems and accidents involving the unmanned aircraft.

There have been eight reported near-misses between drones and helicopters or airplanes since December 2015.

In 2017, a Japan Airlines Co. aircraft was forced to circle again for a landing after a reported sighting of a drone near a taxiing route at Osaka Airport.

This year, a drone flew under an air ambulance in Asahikawa, Hokkaido.