Kyoto Animation lawyer expresses unhappiness that many victims’ families did not agree with announcement.

The July 18 arson attack on the Fushimi studio of anime production company Kyoto Animation claimed the lives of 35 people, making it the largest mass murder to take place in Japan since a 2001 fire in Tokyo, also suspected to be arson, which killed 44. Before that, you have to go back more than a century to find a larger human-inflicted peacetime loss of life in the country, and given the Kyoto Animation victims’ status as members of the entertainment industry, a portion of the public has been wanting to know whether or not the artists they admire and respect survived the attack.

However, it wasn’t until early August that the names of 10 victims were released. The delay in disclosing the remaining names was attributed to a desire to give the victims’ families time to grieve and carry out funeral services, though as time went on a rift formed between the Kyoto Prefectural Police, who felt the names of the remaining victims should be released in the public interest, and Japan’s National Police Agency, who wanted the consent of the bereaved before making the remaining names public.

Ultimately, the Kyoto Prefectural Police decided to release the remaining 25 names on August 27, after confirming that all funerals have been held. Investigators expressed concern that not releasing the names could lead to speculation and false reports as to who the victims were. Ryoji Nishiyama, head of the Kyoto Prefectural Police’s 1st Investigation Division, did however stress that the bereaved families have “suffered immense psychological shock,” and implored media organizations to take into account the emotional state of the families before contacting them with questions or interview requests.

Out of the newly announced 25 victims, 14 were in their 20s, six in their 30s, and five in their 40s.

Japan’s NHK public news service reports that of the 25 newly announced victims, 20 of their families did not agree with the decision to reveal the names at this time. Following the announcement, Kyoto Animation’s lawyer, Daisuke Okeda, sent the following tweet.

“Regrettably, without regard to the solemn requests of our company, as well as the wishes of some of the families, the victims’ names were announced today. Kyoto Animation once again asks the Kyoto Prefectural Police and involved media organizations to respect the privacy and wishes of the deceased and their families.”

Meanwhile, 41 year-old Shinji Aoba, who was taken into custody immediately following the attack while saying “They stole my novel, so I set the fire,” remains hospitalized with severe burns suffered during the attack, and is unable to communicate, preventing police interrogation at this time.

Sources: NHK News Web via Jin
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