Today in Kyoto, police arrested 42-year-old Shinji Aoba for allegedly carrying out last year’s Kyoto Animation arson attack. The authorities waited until Aoba recovered from his own serious burns before placing him in police custody.
Aoba is believed to have lit the fatal fire at around 10:30 AM on July 18, 2019, that set Kyoto Animation’s No. 1 studio set ablaze. Thirty-six employees died in the attack, and another 33 were injured—one of whom is still in the hospital. Aoba’s face, upper body and limbs were badly burned in the fire, and The Associated Press reports that he was unconscious for weeks after the incident. Apparently, he still cannot feed himself or walk on his own. Today he was arrested at the hospital where he had been treated and had to be wheeled into Kyoto’s Fushimi police station (pictured above) on a stretcher. The police waited until he was able to respond to questions, with NHK adding the wait was longer than initially expected. According to The Associated Press, Japanese police also waited until the country’s state of emergency over the novel coronavirus pandemic was lifted.
Aoba has reportedly admitted to starting the fire. The reason he gave for starting the fire was he believed the animation company stole his novels.
The site where the studio stood was bulldozed earlier this spring. As Nikkei Asian Review reports, the beloved animation company has been rebuilding in the wake of the tragedy. The studio issued a statement about the arrest, stating that no apology or explanation will ever bring back those individuals who perished. The studio added that it had nothing to say to the suspect.
Formal charges are expected to be pressed against Aoba in the near future.