At least 33 killed in Japan as man sets 3-storey animation studio on fire
18 July 2019
A suspected arson attack on an animation production company in the city of Kyoto, in Japan, killed at least 33 people and injured dozens more today, in what is the nation’s worst mass murder in nearly two decades
Public broadcaster NHK said a man shouted “die” as he doused the animation studio with fuel and set it ablaze.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the attack in Kyoto - the latest grisly killing in a nation widely known for its low crime rates - “too appalling for words” on Twitter and offered condolences.
Police detained the 41-year-old man shortly after 10 am (0100 GMT), NHK reported.
Thirty-three people were confirmed dead, an official for the Kyoto City Fire Department said.
White and black smoke billowed from its charred windows as fire engulfed the building. It was Japan’s worst mass killing since a suspected arson attack on a Tokyo building in 2001.
Shiro Misaki, a 47-year old owner of a neighbourhood bar five minutes from studio, said he was driving nearby when he saw the thick smoke.
“Policemen were stopping traffic and it was really hazy with smoke,” he said. “Even after I got back to my restaurant I could smell the smoke.”
Some of the victims were found in the studio, some on the third floor and others in a staircase leading up to the roof, the fire official said. Another 36 were injured, 10 of them seriously, the official said.
The suspected arsonist was injured and was being treated in hospital, so police could not question him, NHK said.
The studio produces popular series such as the `Sound! Euphonium’. Its `Free! Road to the World - The Dream’ movie is due for release this month.
“I am heartbroken,” Hideaki Hatta, the studio’s chief executive told reporters. “It in unbearable that the people who helped carry Japan’s animation industry were hurt and lost their lives in this way.”