Kyoto Animation arson suspect arrested after 10 months

Police in Japan have arrested the man suspected of carrying out an arson attack last year at Kyoto Animation, that killed 36 people. Shinji Aoba was arrested on murder and arson charges over the attack on the Kyoto Animation studio in western Japan, which sparked an outpouring of grief from anime fans around the world, after officers waited 10 months for him to be treated for serious burns. In a life-threatening condition for months, Aoba received multiple skin grafts at a hospital in Osaka. He was later sent to a hospital in nearby Kyoto in November for rehabilitation. Police previously intended to arrest him in January, but he was too ill. He has now been taken to a Kyoto police station for interrogation. TV footage showed the suspect strapped to a stretcher as he was carried into a police station. Aoba, 42, is accused of entering Kyoto Animation’s main studio via an unlocked front door on the morning of 18 July armed with two containers thought to have contained petrol. He allegedly doused the entrance with the liquid before setting it on fire with a lighter. About 70 people were inside the studio at the time. It is Japan’s deadliest blaze since 2001, when a fire in Tokyo’s Kabukicho entertainment district killed 44 people. The fire shocked anime fans around the world, and also prompted tributes from the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, and Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, who tweeted: “Kyoto Animation is home to some of the world’s most talented animators and dreamers – the devastating attack today is a tragedy felt far beyond Japan. “KyoAni artists spread joy all over the world and across generations with their masterpieces.” The studio, known by its fans as KyoAni, is well known outside Japan for its role in producing popular TV anime series, including The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, K-ON! and Violet Evergarden.