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Burned-out studio: The perpetrator accused Kyoto Animation of stealing his ideas


Four and a half years after the arson attack on the Japanese animation studio Kyoto Animation with 36 dead, the public prosecutor's office has demanded the death penalty for the perpetrator. This was reported by the Japanese news agency Jiji Press and the public broadcaster NHK on Thursday. The verdict is due to be announced on 25 January.

At the start of the trial in September, 45-year-old Shinji Aoba had confessed to having set the fire in the studio in Kyoto city in 2019. On Wednesday, he apologized for his actions for the first time in court, as NHK reported. He was "incredibly sorry" for the arson attack, Aoba said.

Aoba had broken into the animation studio in July 2019, spilled gasoline on the ground floor and set it on fire. Among the victims of the devastating fire were many young employees of the studio. Aoba reportedly accused Kyoto Animation – known to fans as KyoAni – of stealing his ideas. The studio has rejected this. Aoba himself suffered severe burns in the fire.

The attack had caused horror beyond Japan. Kyoto Animation is known for a number of anime – Japanese animated series – for television such as "Munto", "Lucky Star" and "K-ON!". Japan is famous worldwide for its anime culture.

Death row inmates do not know the date of execution

Japan, along with the United States and China, is one of the few industrialized countries that retain the death penalty. Human rights activists denounce the handling of executions and the conditions of detention: death row inmates often spend years in solitary confinement and do not know the time of their execution. When the execution warrant finally arrives from the Ministry of Justice, most of them have only a few hours to live. The sentence is carried out by hanging.