Quantcast
Connect with us

24 dead in suspected arson attack on Japan animation studio

Published

on

A suspected arson attack on an animation production company in Japan killed 24 people and injured dozens more on Thursday, with flames gutting the building in the city of Kyoto.

Police said the fierce blaze appeared to have been started deliberately but there was no immediate information on a possible motive.

The toll continued to climb hours after the fire began, with fire department officials saying bodies were being discovered as they searched the ravaged building.

ADVERTISEMENT

A fire department official told AFP that at least 11 more people had been found “in cardio-respiratory arrest,” a term used in Japan to signify a victim’s death before it is officially certified.

AFP /Japan

The discoveries, on the building’s second floor and a stairwell leading to the roof, raised the toll to at least 24 dead.

Officials said 35 people had also been injured in the fire, 10 of whom were in serious condition, and local media said around 70 people were believed to have been in the building when the fire started.

Footage of the blaze showed thick white smoke pouring from the windows of the three-storey building. Its facade was charred black on much of one side where the flames had shot out of the windows.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took to Twitter to express his horror.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It’s so dreadful that I’m lost for words,” he wrote.

“I pray for those who passed away.”

– ‘Drop dead’ –

ADVERTISEMENT

The fire department said it began receiving calls around 10:35 am (0135 GMT) about the fire at the studio belonging to Kyoto Animation.

JIJI PRESS/AFP/File / JIJI PRESS Public broadcaster NHK reported that a man had been detained in connection with the blaze and was later taken to hospital for treatment

“Callers reported having heard a loud explosion from the first floor of Kyoto Animation and seeing smoke,” a fire department spokesman said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Police said they were still investigating the cause of the fire but it was a suspected arson attack.

“A man threw a liquid and set fire to it,” a Kyoto prefectural police spokesman told AFP.

Public broadcaster NHK reported that a man had been detained in connection with the blaze and was later taken to hospital for treatment.

ADVERTISEMENT

JIJI PRESS/AFP / JIJI PRESS Japanese media reported that a suspect had poured a gasoline-like substance around the building and said ‘drop dead’ as he set fire to it

It reported that the suspect had poured a gasoline-like substance around the building and said “drop dead” as he set fire to it.

Witnesses described a powerful blaze.

“I heard two loud bangs, they sounded like explosions,” a man told NHK.

“The fire was raging hard. I saw red flames flaring.”

ADVERTISEMENT

A woman living nearby told Kyodo news agency she had seen at least one injured person outside the building.

“A person with singed hair was lying down and there were bloody footprints,” the 59-year-old told the local news outlet.

– ‘Why, why, why?’ –

There was no immediate statement from the studio, which produced several well-known television anime series, including “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya” and “K-ON!”

ADVERTISEMENT

“We are in the process of learning what happened,” said a woman who answered the phone at the firm’s headquarters in Uji City in the Kyoto region.

“We cannot tell you anything more,” she added.

JIJI PRESS/AFP / JIJI PRESS Arson is considered a serious crime in Japan and people convicted of deliberately setting fires in a country where many people still live in wooden houses can face the death penalty

The blaze prompted an outpouring of support from those in Japan’s anime industry, one of the country’s best known cultural exports.

“No, I don’t know what I should be thinking now,” tweeted Yutaka Yamamoto, an animation director who once worked at Kyoto Animation.

“Why, why, why?”

ADVERTISEMENT

An online fundraiser organised by an American anime licencing firm raised over $170,000 within hours of being set up.

Japan has a famously low crime rate, with violent crime very rare.

Arson is considered a serious crime and people convicted of deliberately setting fires in a country where many people still live in wooden houses can face the death penalty.

A man convicted of setting a fire that killed 16 people in Osaka in 2008 is currently on death row.

ADVERTISEMENT

In 2016, a knife-wielding man went on the rampage at a care home for the mentally disabled, killing 19 in the country’s worst mass killing in decades.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

CNN

Trump’s lawyers slammed by CNN’s Toobin for ‘parade of lies’ about Biden’s involvement in Ukraine

Published

on

On CNN Monday, chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin argued that the White House team's defense in the impeachment trial was disastrously bad.

"I thought Attorney General [Pam] Bondi did an effective job of showing how sleazy the hiring of Hunter Biden was," acknowledged Toobin. However, he added "her discussion, and Eric Herschmann's discussion, of the role of Joe Biden, vice president at the time, was a parade of lies. Just outrageously false in every fact, in every insinuation ... this idea that he engineered the fire firing of [Ukrainian prosecutor] Viktor Shokin to get his son in. Since Joe Biden is the one who is running for president, that seems to be enormously important."

Continue Reading

Facebook

Republicans claim Democrats leaked John Bolton’s book that was given to the White House — then quickly back down

Published

on

In a bizarre twist, Republicans are blaming Democrats for releasing information included in John Bolton's.

Speaking in a line of Republicans, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) explained that it was clear Democrats were part of some kind of conspiracy to turn senators against the speedy trial the White House wanted. With the revelation that Bolton confirmed President Donald Trump was indeed trying to bribe Ukraine, a very few Republican senators are more willing to call him as a witness.

The problem, of course, with Meadows' accusations is that the manuscript was never sent to Democrats. According to the New York Times report, Bolton sent the book to the White House for security checks to ensure nothing he put in the book was classified.

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

Ken Starr defends Trump as Bolton revelations roil trial

Published

on

Pressure mounted on Republicans on Monday to call former national security advisor John Bolton as a witness at Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial following explosive new revelations about the US president's dealings with Ukraine.

As Clinton impeachment investigator Ken Starr resumed the White House defense of Trump on the Senate floor, at least three Republican senators indicated they would favor hearing testimony from the 71-year-old Bolton.

According to The New York Times, Bolton, in a draft of his upcoming book, says that Trump told him in August that he wanted to freeze military aid to Ukraine until Kiev opened an investigation into his potential November election rival Joe Biden.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image