Japanese man admits setting anime studio fire that killed 36

Japanese man admits setting anime studio fire that killed 36Japanese man admits setting anime studio fire that killed 36
Nippon TV News 24 Japan
Carl Samson
September 6, 2023
The man accused of setting an anime studio ablaze in Kyoto, Japan, in 2019 has pleaded guilty to the crime this week.
Background: Shinji Aoba, 45, is accused of setting Kyoto Animation’s No. 1 studio on fire on July 18, 2019. He allegedly broke into the building, spread gasoline throughout the ground floor and used a lighter to start the inferno.
As a result of the flames, 36 people were killed and 32 others were injured. Aoba, who nearly died from his own burns, was arrested a year later after he had recovered enough to comply with the investigation. 
What he’s saying: Aoba is facing five charges, which include murder, attempted murder and arson. On Tuesday, he confessed to his actions in court.
“I am positive that I did [what is written in the indictment],” he said. “At the time, I thought I had no other choice, but I did not expect so many people would die. I now think that I went overboard.”
What his lawyers are saying: While Aoba pleaded guilty to his charges, his lawyers pleaded otherwise on his behalf. They argued that he was suffering from delusions — such as fighting a “dark figure” — and that if convicted, his sentence should be reduced due to his diminished capacity.
What prosecutors are saying: Prosecutors said Aoba had acted in “revenge driven by a misdirected grudge.”
In 2017, a novel he had written reportedly failed to win a contest sponsored by Kyoto Animation. The studio suggested that following this, Aoba harbored the belief that it stole his ideas.
What’s next: Trial proceedings are underway. A ruling is expected on Jan. 25, 2024.

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