Japanese police arrested a suspect on Wednesday on suspicion of murder following last year’s arson attack at the headquarters of Kyoto Animation, which resulted in the death of 36 people and injured 33 more.
Shinji Aoba was identified as the chief suspect immediately after the incident but was badly burnt and as such was unable to face charges before this point. Kyoto police had planned to arrest him in January but arrangements were affected by the spread of the coronavirus and his ongoing condition, which has left him bedridden.
According to the Japan Times, Aoba has now been transferred from hospital to a Kyoto police station where he will be questioned. He was said to have serious burn marks visible during the transfer.
At the time of the attack, Aoba claimed the studio had plagiarized his novel for one of its animations, and reports today say he is not denying his involvement. The company has since said that it is possible Aoba had submitted a draft to an annual public contest it holds, but has denied basing any animation on his work. Aoba had been undergoing treatment for mental illness before the incident.
A total of 70 people were working in the building when Aoba is suspected of igniting gasoline to set a fire at around 10:30AM local time on July 18, 2019. The number of lives lost make the incident one of the worst murder cases in Japan’s history.
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