New law would require documentation of the sort of purchase arsonist made prior to attack.

There was some heartening news regarding Kyoto Animation last week, when the anime production company made it known that over 80 percent of the employees who were injured in the arson attack on the company’s animation studio in July have now returned to work. However, the passing of an injured victim earlier this month brought the death toll for the incident up to 36, meaning that the majority of the 70 employees who were in the studio when the fire was set lost their lives.

While the arsonist has yet to be formally arrested or interrogated (as a result of not yet being medically cleared for discharge from the hospital), based on security footage investigators believe he filled two 20-liter (5.3-gallon) canisters with gasoline at a gas station on the morning of the attack, then loaded them on a handcart which he pushed to the Kyoto Animation studio and spread about the building’s lobby to accelerate the blaze. The use of an accelerant is thought to have been a major factor in the high death toll, as the building itself was compliant with all necessary fire codes, and so the Japanese government is now planning to install stricter regulations for the purchase of gasoline.

The national Fire and Disaster Management Agency, a division of Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, says it plans to enact new legislation that will require customers who are buying gasoline to put it into a container (i.e. gas that’s not being pumped directly into a car or motorcycle) to show a valid ID and declare their intended purpose for the gas.

These regulations mirror those proposed by the Kyoto metropolitan government shortly after the Kyoto Animation arson attack. However, the Kyoto metropolitan government merely asked local gas stations to follow the new protocol, and customers were still free to refuse to show their IDs or state their purpose. This prompted gas stations to ask for the rules to be made into official legal requirements instead.

Ostensibly, having their identity tied to the purchase will discourage the criminally minded from using the gasoline in unlawful ways, since it creates a trail of evidence. However, it’s debatable whether or not this would have prevented the Kyoto Animation arson attack, as the arsonist himself suffered severe burns in the attack, which suggests that self-preservation wasn’t a major priority for him, and so avoiding prosecution was also likely something he was unconcerned with.

The new laws are expected to go into effect in February of next year.

Source: Kyodo via Jin
Top image: Wikipedia/L26
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