Man arrested in deadly 2019 fire at Japan’s Kyoto Animation: media

Shinji Aoba, a suspected arsonist who is suspected of killing 36 people at Kyoto Animation in July 2019, is seen on a stretcher as he is carried to Fushimi police station after being arrested in Kyoto, western Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo May 27, 2020. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN.

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese police on Wednesday arrested the man suspected of killing 36 people at Kyoto Animation last July after he had spent 10 months in recovering in two hospitals, media reported.

Police had issued an arrest warrant for Shinji Aoba at the time of the fire but had been unable to question him after he suffered serious, self-inflicted burns.

Public broadcaster NHK said that police arrested Aoba at a Kyoto hospital, where he confessed to the crimes, and that he was transferred to police headquarters for further questioning.

Police will brief media later on Wednesday, NHK said.

A spokesman at Kyoto Prefectural Police Headquarters said he could not confirm the arrest.

The fire had killed mostly young artists at the studio, shocked animation fans around the world, and prompted tributes from world leaders such as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook.

Kyoto Animation is well known in Japan and abroad for its series and movies, including “Violet Evergarden”, which has been on Netflix.

In mid-July last year, police said, Aoba went to the studio, poured fuel around the entrance and shouted “Die!” as he set the building ablaze. After the attack, Aoba told police he had done it because the studio had plagiarized his novel.

Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim. Editing by Gerry Doyle

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