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Police Name Suspect In Japan Animation Studio Fire

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Japanese police have named the man suspected of carrying out a deadly arson attack on an animation studio.

Shinji Aoba is in police custody in hospital and is being treated for burns before he can be questioned.

The fire swept through Kyoto Animation (KyoAni) on Thursday, claiming at least 33 lives and injuring many in one of Japan’s worst mass killings in years.

People who witnessed Shinji Aoba’s arrest said they heard him complaining that the company had stolen his ideas.

Police say the attacker entered the building and splashed flammable liquid from a bucket before setting it alight, and shouted: “Die!”

In the wake of the attack, dozens of people have gathered outside the premises of the studio, laying flowers and offering prayers.

A crowdfunding campaign has also raised more than $1.3m (£1.04m) to assist victims and their families.

KyoAni produces films and graphic novels, and is well regarded by fans for the quality of its productions.

Police detained Shinji Aoba on suspicion of setting fire to the building.

The BBC’s Tokyo Correspondent Rupert Wingfield-Hayes says CCTV footage from a nearby petrol station appears to show him filling up two containers with petrol shortly before the incident.

Mr Aoba allegedly accused the animation studio of plagiarising his novel. However, he is still recovering from injuries in hospital and has not been formally interviewed about his motive.

Public broadcaster NHK reports that he has a criminal record and was previously jailed for stealing money from a convenience store.

Kyoto Animation’s president has said he recently received threatening letters, but has no idea if they were connected to the attack.

The fire broke out at the three-storey building at about 10:30 local time (01:35 GMT) on Thursday.

Eyewitnesses described a loud explosion followed by the blaze, which people jumped out of windows to escape from.

“It was like I was looking at hell,” a local woman told Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

 

BBC

 

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