It is, in fact, legal to fly a drone in Japan if you follow the rules:
- Drones may not be flown in the following manners without special permission from the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism: 150 meters (492 feet) above ground level; near airports; above densely inhabited areas, as defined by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.
- For special cases (events, flying over a city, etc) you must request approval by submitting an application for permission to the Ministry of Land Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism at least 10 business days prior to the proposed operation. Contact Japan’s UA / Drone Counseling Service for more information.
- Drones may only be flown during the daytime. Subject to permission.
- Drone pilots must maintain a visual line of sight with their drone during operations. More or less.
- Drones may not fly within 30 meters (98.4 feet) of people or private property.
- Drones may not be flown over crowds or sites where large groups of people are gathered, such as concerts or sports events. You may apply for permission.
- Drones may not drop objects while in flight, either intentionally or accidentally. Make sure everything is well secured.
- Not flying while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Duh.
- Not flying in a careless or reckless manner. Do not cause trouble.
Visit the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s drone page
Now you see how some people get those results