Stricken studio wants maximum penalties pursued.

On the morning of March 27, Kyoto Prefectural Police officers placed 42-year-old Shinji Aoba under arrest. Aoba is accused of setting the gasoline-accelerated fire at anime production company Kyoto Animation’s Fushimi Ward studio that resulted in 36 deaths and injured 33 more victims last July.

Aoba’s arrest comes at the end of a lengthy hospital stay, during which he received treatment for severe burns that he himself suffered in the attack. With doctors now deeming him fit to survive incarceration and undergo questioning, plus the complications of which detention center to house him in sorted out, administrators at the undisclosed Kyoto hospital where Aoba was being treated turned custody over to investigators. Lying on a stretcher with a mask covering his face, Aoba was placed in a car which arrived at the Fushimi Police Station, where the arson investigation is headquartered, shortly after 8 a.m., though his pre-trial incarceration will be in neighboring Osaka Prefecture.

Following Aoba’s formal arrest, which comes roughly one month after the burned-out anime studio’s ruins were completely cleared away, Kyoto Animation issued the following statement:

“In regards to the accused, we have no additional comment. All that matters is his actions and their results. Regardless of how he may try to excuse his actions, or what remorse he may speak of after the fact, our friends whose lives were taken will not come back, nor will it help the wounds of our injured friends heal. Bereaved families and friends now have to face a permanently changed reality, as must we [at Kyoto Animation].

As a company, we obviously agree with prosecutors pursuing the maximum culpability that the law will allow.”

The Japanese legal system allows for capital punishment, with a number of members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult being executed in rapid succession following the unsuccessful end of their appeals process in 2018. However, Aoba may be able to avoid a death sentence depending on how his mental state at the time of the attack is evaluated.

Sources: NHK News Web via Jin
Top image: Wikipedia/L26
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