A Japanese court handed the death sentence to the man who lit the fire that killed 36 people inside an animation studio in Kyoto in 2019.
What the court said:
Chief Judge Keisuke Masuda read the verdict
against Shinji Aoba, now 45, at the Kyoto
District Court on Thursday after determining that the defendant was not mentally insane or weak when he committed the crime. Aoba’s lawyers tried to seek a lighter sentence for “mental incompetence,” but Masuda rejected their plea.
“The death of 36 people is extremely serious and tragic,” Masuda said, according to NHK
. “The fear and pain of the deceased victims was indescribable.”
Capital punishment in Japan: Japan
is one of the few developed countries that continues to hand down the death sentence – by hanging – for its most serious crimes, including multiple murders. Death row inmates
, which reportedly totaled to 107 as of December, are only notified
of their execution hours before it is carried out. The last inmate executed
was Tomohiro Kato on July 26, 2022.
About 70 people
were inside Kyoto Animation’s No. 1 building on July 18, 2019, when Aoba doused its ground floor with gasoline before setting it on fire. He was reportedly heard yelling “die.” Aoba accused the anime
studio of stealing a novel he had submitted for a contest sponsored by the studio in 2017.
Aoba, who suffered burns to 90% of his body, was arrested
a year later after his recovery for the death of 36 people and injuring 32 others. He faced five charges, including murder
, attempted murder and arson
. He pleaded
guilty during a court appearance in September 2023, admitting that he did not expect “so many people would die” and that he went “overboard.”