The trial of the arson murder case of "Kyoto Animation" was held for 4 days, and the opinions of the bereaved family and the burned employees were held for 26 days, and the mother who lost her <>-year-old daughter said, "Please return my daughter, and if I can go back to that day, I will definitely protect my cute daughter first and foremost."

The defendant, Shinji Aoba (45), is accused of murder, arson and other crimes for sprinkling gasoline and setting fire to Kyoto Animation's No. 4 studio in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, four years ago in July 2019, killing 7 employees and seriously injuring 1 others.

At the trial on the 36th, four people, including seven family members and an employee who was burned, made statements.

Among them, a mother who lost her 32-year-old daughter said, "Please give her back, if you can, go back to that day and at least die with her. I wanted to be close to that spoiled child. If I could go back to that day, I would definitely protect my sweet daughter first and foremost this time," he said, his voice trembling.

In addition, a male employee who was burned said that he ran out of the studio to report the incident even though he was involved in the explosion, saying, "I still have the moment when my friends who I played with and drank alcohol with were engulfed in flames. Every day, the faces of my deceased friends come to my mind, and I always wonder if I should be happy."

The male employee also said that he was involved in the production of a work that the defendant claimed to have stolen an idea, and said, "I have never referred to your novel, and it is an assumption that it was plagiarized. I can assure you that Kyoto Animation is not a company that does such things. You have murdered 4 innocent people with your own assumptions."

Defendant Aoba stared at the bereaved families and victims who were making statements, and made a gesture that made him scratch his head when he was called out.

The next trial is scheduled for June 7, when the employees who suffered burns in the incident will give their opinions and ask questions of the defendant Aoba.

A mother who lost her 26-year-old daughter

In a statement, a mother who lost her 26-year-old daughter said, "My husband was angry for four years before the trial began, but I could not be angry because I only regretted sending my daughter to Kyoto the day before the incident when she returned home for the first time in a long time. I revealed my feelings now.

She also said of her daughter, "I was proud to be an employee of KyoAni, and although I went to the final interview when I was in high school, I didn't give up and worked hard to get in. She was a quiet girl who never stopped trying."

He added, "I wish it was a dream to be here. I was immature as a parent. This time, I will raise my daughter freely without restraint. I will take better care of it. So please return the daughter. Please return the joy that awaits your daughter when she returns home. If I could, I would have gone back to that day and at least died with him. I wanted to be close to that spoiled child. This time, I'm definitely going to protect my sweet girl first, if I can go back to that day," he said, his voice choking.

To the defendant, he said, "I can't forgive the defendant now that I have seen the reality that I can't get him back. Even if you pretend to regret it now, my husband and I will not believe it. We no longer expect sincere remorse or apologies from the perpetrators. I believe that a just judgment will be rendered."

The family of the deceased 32-year-old woman

In a statement from the family of the 32-year-old female animator who died in the incident, her father spoke first, saying, "Every day I wake up in the morning, look at a picture of my daughter, and say 'good morning' in my heart. My daughter always responds with a smile. And I tell myself that no matter where I look, my daughter is not there. I regret now that I could have done more as a father to help him. Since the incident, I have been repeating this every morning, and my heart seems to be crushed by the ups and downs of my feelings."

In addition, he appealed to the defendant, saying, "Even if it is a capital sentence, it will not be enough to make amends for it, but I think it is the only sentence, and I hope that the defendant will continue to apologize from the bottom of his heart until the moment when his life ends."

Next, the mother said of her daughter, "When I was a child, I drew pictures on the walls of my room, and when I was in junior high and high school, I was so immersed in painting that I forgot to eat. I'm very proud of my daughter for making her dream come true," she said, adding, "If God could grant me just one wish, I would say I want to see her and hug her."

He said to the defendant, "Imagine the feelings of the deceased, the injured, and the families left behind. Saying that you regret it, but getting the date of the incident wrong, or answering only that you remember the incident when asked what you are doing on July 18, or is that it? Not a day goes by that we don't think of our daughter. Not a day goes by that I don't think about the incident. The defendant has no idea that he has caused so much sacrifice, suffering, and sorrow. I believe that the punishment will be commensurate, but I hope that until the moment of the end of your life, you will spend your days in prison with your hands together and make amends."

The younger brother, who spoke for the last time, first spoke about his current feelings, saying, "I am deeply struck by the pain of having to face the facts of the case, as if I had been stabbed with a knife in my heart, and that has not changed even now, four years later."

"I have something I would like to say to the judges, jury, defense attorneys, prosecutors, and spectators. Know that you or someone you care about can suddenly be caught up in something and die. If you are able to return to your loved ones today as usual, please cherish the time you can spend with them. If they're not around, try to reach out to them casually. It was too big a price to realize after losing it. I regret it very much."

He then addressed the defendant, saying, "I've seen you throughout this trial, and you don't seem to be taking seriously the fact that you've hurt and hurt a lot of people. Whether you apologize or not, no matter what the verdict is, the dead will not come back. I feel that even the death penalty is easy, but I do not dare to say that I want the death penalty. Hopefully, they will understand the magnitude of their crimes and the weight of their lives, and that they will end their lives blaming themselves, suffering from the reality that they cannot be redeemed."

The male employee who was burned

A male employee of Kyoto Animation, who was in the studio at the time of the incident and was burned, first commented on Aoba's claim that the idea of the novel was stolen, saying, "I was participating in a meeting to decide the scenario for the work that I claimed to have plagiarized, but my name and the novel were never mentioned in the meeting. No one read the novel. The same is true for other works, and KyoAni has never referenced your novel in its work. It's your assumption that it was plagiarized."

He added, "I can assure you that Kyoto Animation is not a company that does such things, and of course, not all the staff in the studio plagiarized and had nothing to do with it. You murdered 36 innocent people on your own behalf. Please engrave it in your heart."

Reflecting on the circumstances at the time of the incident, he said, "I was on the first floor where the defendant set fire that day. The moment I noticed the intruder and picked up the snag, I was caught in the explosion. It was a tremendous heat. I still can't forget the moment when my friends who were close enough to be called friends, who played and drank with me, were engulfed in flames. In an instant, the smell and smoke of gasoline spread and I thought I was dead. The fire had not yet spread to the exit, so I decided that I could not help my comrades and that I had to call the fire department and emergency services as soon as possible, so I ran out of the studio, ran to the station, and called the station staff's cell phone."

On the other hand, "Every day, the faces of my deceased comrades come to mind. In the midst of friends who have stopped in time in 2019, friends who are still suffering, and bereaved families, I always wonder if I should enjoy life or be happy. Not only did I fail to prevent the incident, but I was forced to leave my friends, seniors, and friends in the studio where the flames spread. I don't have a face to let the bereaved families meet."

Lastly, as a resolution for the future, he said, "In reality, there are things that cannot be done by the power of an individual. Some of us have had unfortunate upbringings, and some of us, like us, have unreasonably lost the lives of our colleagues, friends, and loved ones. Crime and war will not go away. There are things that we can't overcome no matter how hard we try, and our grief will never go away. However, I believe that fiction such as animation, manga, and novels can still speak of hope in the face of such a reality. Various works and all the people involved in the creation have depicted hope in this way. We inherit it. Along with the memories of our deceased friends, we will continue to live with sadness and suffering, looking forward. We make fiction. That's why I don't stop talking about hope."

He then told the defendant, "Even if you are in an unfortunate situation, even if you are overwhelmed by your own helplessness, you can live and be happy. The defendant should have been the same. As long as you don't have an incident, you're happy. You are the one who took it away. You can't be happy anymore. But with the help of many people, I am living in the present. You are still alive. There are people who wanted to live but couldn't, but you're still alive. Please think carefully about what that means."