Admits that his goal was to kill as many as possible.

On the morning of May 27, 42-year-old Shinji Aoba was arrested at a hospital in Kyoto, more than 10 months after lighting a fire at the Fushimi studio of anime production company Kyoto Animation last July. Aoba was initially apprehended at the scene of the crime shortly after it took place and quoted as saying “I spread gasoline around the studio. I lit it with a lighter.”

The lengthy gap between the arson and arrest stems from a requirement of the Japanese legal system that stipulates a suspect must be healthy enough to withstand incarceration before being placed under arrest. Aoba sustained severe burns in the attack, resulting in a lengthy loss of consciousness and extensive skin grafts to replace destroyed tissue on his face and arms. The coronavirus outbreak caused a secondary delay in the process, but on Wednesday he was deemed fit to transfer, and after being placed under arrest was taken to Kyoto’s Fushimi Police Station, where the investigation is headquartered, for processing and his first round of official questioning.

▼ The Kyoto Prefectural Police’s Fushimi station

During the interview with investigators, at which medical staff were also present, Aoba reiterated statements attributed to him at the time of the arson. “I had a grudge against Kyo Ani,” he told investigators, employing the commonly used nickname for Kyoto Animation and seemingly referring to his failed entry to Kyoto Animation’s periodic novel-writing contest. Aoba also admitted that “I thought that if I sprayed gasoline around the building while setting the fire, I could kill more people, so that’s why I did that.”

Most stomach-churning of all, though, is Aoba’s reaction to learning just how many lives he took. When informed that 36 people died either in the attack or due to injuries sustained in it, and that another 33 survivors suffered serious injuries, Aoba responded with “Oh, is that so?” (“Sou nan desu ka?”).

As the first official interview since the attack, Aoba had been unaware of just how many people had perished. “I thought maybe about two people died” he told the investigators. However, his admission that his goal was to kill as many as possible, as well as his nonchalant reaction to the death toll, are unlikely to earn him any clemency from the Japanese justice system, and there are no doubt many who share Kyoto Animation’s sentiment that Aoba, regardless of any remorse he may or may not eventually express, be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Source: Asahi Shimbun Digital via Livedoor News via Jin
Top image: Wikipedia/L26
Insert image: Wikipedia/L26

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