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Man arrested over deadly 2019 fire at Japanese animation studio

Man arrested over deadly 2019 fire at Japanese animation studio

FILE PHOTO: Smoke billows from a three-story building of Kyoto Animation in a fire in Kyoto on Jul 18, 2019. (Kyodo News via AP)

TOKYO: Japanese police on Wednesday (May 27) arrested the man suspected of killing 36 people at Kyoto Animation last July after he had spent 10 months in recovering in two hospitals, media reported.

Police had issued an arrest warrant for Shinji Aoba at the time of the fire but had been unable to question him after he suffered serious, self-inflicted burns.

"We arrested Shinji Aoba, 42, on suspicion of the murder of 36 people by setting fire to an animation studio," a police spokesman told AFP.

Aoba was arrested at a Kyoto hospital and transferred to police headquarters for further questioning, police said in a statement. Aoba's injuries had left him unable to walk on his own, a police official said.

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The fire had killed mostly young artists at the studio, shocked animation fans around the world, and prompted tributes from world leaders such as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Apple's chief executive, Tim Cook.

Kyoto Animation is well known in Japan and abroad for its series and movies, including Violet Evergarden, which has been on Netflix.

In mid-July last year, police said, Aoba went to the studio, poured fuel around the entrance and shouted "Die!" as he set the building ablaze. After the attack, Aoba told police he had done it because the studio had plagiarized his novel.

In a statement, Kyoto Animation said it expected the suspect to be prosecuted "to the maximum extent" under the law.

"We have no further words for the suspect... Our fallen colleagues will never return, and our wounds will never heal," it said.

Source: Reuters/afp/lk


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