Published: Fri, July 19, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Several reportedly dead in suspected arson attack at Japanese anime studio

Several reportedly dead in suspected arson attack at Japanese anime studio

It's the worst mass killing in that country in some time, perhaps ever; a suspected arson killed 44 back in 2001, though it was ruled accidental.

Kyoto Animation, known as KyoAni, produces films and graphic novels and is well regarded by fans for the quality of its productions.

Kyoto Animation has confirmed that they often received death threats, starting a few years ago.

Among them is Washinoniya Jinja, a shrine in Saitama prefecture just north of Tokyo, a scene in the TV animation series "Lucky Star", or "Raki Suta", based on comics by Kagami Yoshimizu.

Kyoto fire department official Kazuhiro Hayashi says 36 others have been injured, 10 of them critically.

The fire broke out at about 10:30 a.m. local time on Thursday (9:30 p.m. ET) in the company's 1st Studio building in Kyoto's Fushimi-ku district. Police said a resident reported hearing a sound like an explosion coming from the studio.

The police said some people witnessed the man screaming "die" as he set fire.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzō Abe posted a statement on Twitter on Thursday praying for those who have died and for the swift recovery of those who are injured.

"It's so awful that I'm lost for words", he wrote.

"I pray for ... their souls", he added.

A major anime studio in Kyoto, Japan, was engulfed in flames in a suspected act of arson that killed at least 16 people, according to Japan's national broadcaster NHK.

"A man threw a liquid and set fire to it", a Kyoto prefectural police spokesman told news agency AFP.

Police said the suspect is a 41-year-old man who did not work at the studio. He reportedly suffered serious injuries in the fire. They said some of the survivors got splashed with the liquid.

Local media reported that the suspected attacker appeared to also have been armed with knives.

Kyoto Animation was established by Yoko Hatta and her husband, Hideaki Hatta, in 1981.

This picture shows firefighters and rescue personnel outside an animation company building after it caught fire in Kyoto on July 18, 2019. "It in unbearable that the people who helped carry Japan's animation industry were hurt and lost their lives in this way".

"Today, in the arson murder case that occurred in Kyoto, there are a large number of casualties, and I lose a word for much misery".

"It's not 'otaku commits crime, ' but the criminal happened to be a consumer of anime", a 20-something female anime fan was quoted as saying in the Business Journal publication. The perpetrator apparently went to great lengths to plan the crime and obtain gasoline, the sale of which is tightly controlled in Japan; it is not sold in containers.

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