Kyoto Animation arsonist who killed 36 people says he accepts death sentence, Latest World News - The New Paper

Kyoto Animation arsonist who killed 36 people says he accepts death sentence

TOKYO – A Japanese man sentenced to death for killing 36 people in an arson attack on an anime studio in 2019, said he accepted the court’s verdict, a local media report said.

Shinji Aoba, 45, was convicted on Jan 25 over the blaze at the studios of Kyoto Animation – Japan’s deadliest crime in decades.

On Jan 26, his defence team, who had entered a plea of not guilty claiming he had a mental disorder, appealed the ruling.

But in a rare interview with the Asahi Shimbun newspaper published late on Jan 27, Aoba said: “I seriously accept the verdict.”

He told the daily that he chose to appeal “because I would not be able to speak out if I did not continue (with the court case)”.

The interview took place a day after he was sentenced.

“As the person who caused this incident, I tried to speak as much as possible during the (court) proceedings.

“But there are a few more things that I want to leave behind as lessons for others,” he was quoted as saying.

Japan is one of the few developed countries with capital punishment, and public support for it is high.

As at December, 107 people were on death row.

Many of those killed in the July 2019 fire were young, including a 21-year-old woman.

Aoba broke into the building, spread gasoline around the ground floor, lit it and shouted “drop dead”, according to survivors.

The victims “were engulfed in fire and smoke in the blink of an eye… They died an anguishing death as the studio instantly turned into a hell”, presiding judge Keisuke Masuda said in his ruling.

“Immolating people is truly cruel and inhumane,” he added.

Aoba himself sustained burns on 90 per cent of his body and only regained consciousness weeks after the fire, and the ability to speak later still.

Aoba believed that the studio – known by its fans as KyoAni – stole his ideas, prosecutors said, a claim the company has denied. – AFP