Disasters & Accidents

Man indicted over deadly Japanese animation studio fire

Tokyo, Dec 16 (efe-epa).- The Japanese prosecutor’s office on Wednesday indicted a 42-year-old man over an arson attack last year on an animation studio in Kyoto that killed 36 people.

Shinji Aoba was indicted on charges, including suspicion of murder, according to Kyodo news, a year and a half after the attack on the studios of Kyoto Animation Co on July 18, 2019.

It was one of the worst tragedies involving violent crime in recent Japanese history.

Since June, the suspect has been held for psychiatric examination to determine whether, taking into account his history of previous mental illness, he could be held criminally liable.

He has likely been determined by medical experts to be mentally competent based on his calculated actions, Kyodo reported.

It is alleged that at around 10.30 am on July 18, 2019, the suspect splashed gasoline around the three-storey building, before setting it alight.

Authorities believe that it was done with the intention of taking revenge for an idea that the suspect believed the studio had stolen from him, which Kyoto Animation denies.

Police have said that Aoba has admitted to setting fire to the studio.

In addition to the 36 deaths, 33 people were injured in the attack, including Aoba, who was hospitalized for the life-threatening burns he suffered.

He was formally arrested on May 27, once he recovered sufficiently from his injuries.

The majority of the victims were aged between 20 and 30 years of age, most of whom were trapped in a stairwell while trying to reach the rooftop during the blaze.

On the day of the fire, 70 of the studio’s more than 170 employees were present in the building.

First Studio in Kyoto’s Fushimi Ward is the center of anime production for the company, which is known for hiring and training aspiring young animators.

The fire, one of the deadliest in Japan in recent years, shocked the country and generated widespread support from fans of the studio and anime in general, including a fundraising campaign set up to keep Kyoto Animation afloat.

Kyoto Animation is known for series such as “K-On!” and “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya,” both in Japan as well as internationally. EFE-EPA


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