Japanese who set fire to anime studio, charged with murder

A Japanese prosecutor formally charged the man suspected of arson at the famous anime studio Kyoto Animation in July 2019 for 36 murders. The fire also wounded 33 employees, destroyed the studio, and plunged lovers of Japanese cartoons worldwide into deep mourning.

Other charges against Shinji Aoba (42) were filed in addition to the indictment of murder, reported by local media. The Japan Times reported a few days ago that psychiatric research is likely to show that Aoba is imputable. The man is known to have a history of mental health problems.

Aoba was arrested by the Kyoto Prefecture Police at the end of May this year for murder. That happened after he had had to recover from severe burns for more than ten months.

On July 18, 2019, he walked into the Kyoto Animation studio with a canister of gasoline, where he began to pour the flammable liquid through the room and over the people around him. When he ignited the fuel, Aoba also caught fire. After he fled, he was arrested by the police a hundred yards from the building.

The unemployed Aoba would have called that Kyoto Animations had plagiarized a novel of his. The fire, which killed 22 women and 14 men, would have been the most deadly crime committed in Japan in 20 years.