Japan The author of the deadly fire at an animation

Japan: The author of the deadly fire at an animation studio sentenced to death

From Le Figaro with AFP

Published 2 hours ago, now updated

The arsonist himself suffered severe burns in the incident on July 18, 2019. STR/AFP

Local media reported that on Thursday, January 25, a man in Japan was sentenced to the death penalty for the arson of an animation studio in Kyoto, in the western part of the country, which killed 36 people in 2019. The Kyoto Animation Studio fire caused by Shinji Aoba, 45, is one of the crimes that claimed the most lives in the archipelago in decades and triggered a wave of emotion and outrage in Japan and abroad.

Most of those killed in the fire were young employees of the Kyoto Animation Studio nicknamed “KyoAni,” including a 21-year-old woman. More than 30 other people were injured. “I didn't believe so many people would die and now I think I went too far,” the defendant said on the first day of his trial last September. “I think I have to pay for my crime with (this sentence),” he also said during another hearing in December, when asked about the desire of the victims' families to see him sentenced to death.

According to several witness accounts, he broke into the studio building, poured gasoline, then set it on fire and shouted, “You're going to die.” Firefighters described the fire as “unprecedented” and stressed that extinguishing and rescuing people had been “extremely difficult.” be. Shinji Aoba sought revenge against KyoAni because he believed the company had stolen a script idea from him, a claim the studio strongly denied and which prosecutors described as “delusional.”

Mental disorders

The arsonist himself suffered severe burns in the incident on July 18, 2019, and his injuries required multiple surgeries. He appeared at his trial in a wheelchair. His lawyers pleaded not guilty, arguing that he “lacked the ability to distinguish between right and wrong” due to psychiatric disorders. However, for the prosecution, the defendant “committed his act premeditated with strong murderous intent and was fully aware of the dangers associated with a fire lit with gasoline.”

Along with the United States, Japan is one of the few democratic countries that still practices the death penalty, which is meted out by hanging. Japanese public opinion remains largely in favor despite criticism abroad. The last execution in the country, where more than 100 convicts are on death row, took place in 2022.