Suspect in Japan anime studio fire was angry over 'stolen novels'

Police are investigating at the blackened, gutted building in Kyoto where a man raging about theft set a fire that killed 33 people in a beloved animation studio, crushing the hearts of comic fans in Japan and beyond.
Witness accounts and reports suggested the man had a grudge against Kyoto Animation, but police only have said the suspect Shinji Aoba, 41, who is hospitalised with severe burns and unable to talk, is from near Tokyo and did not work for the studio.
Japanese broadcaster NHK and other media, quoting an unnamed source, said Aoba spent three-and-half years in prison for robbing a convenience store in 2012 and lived on government support.

The man told police that he set the fire because he thought Kyoto Animation 'stole novels', according to Japanese media. It was unclear if he had contacted the studio earlier.
The company founded in 1981 and better known as KyoAni made a mega-hit anime series about high school girls and trained aspirants to the craft.
The shocking attack left another 35 people injured, some critically. It drew an outpouring of grief for the dead and injured, most of them workers at the studio.
Part of a trend?
Kyoto prefectural police chief Hideto Ueda solemnly laid flowers at the site, now a charcoal shell, vowing for the utmost in the investigation to find motives
behind the attack
, which he described as 'unprecedented and unforgivable'.
While shooting deaths are rare in Japan, the country has had a series of high-profile killings in recent years.

Less than two months ago, a man described as a social recluse, or 'hikikomori', stabbed a number of private school children at a bus stop outside Tokyo, killing two people and wounding 17 before killing himself.
In 2016, a former employee at a home for the disabled allegedly killed 19 people and injured more than 20.
What needs to change
Nobuo Komiya, a Rissho University criminology professor, calls the attacks 'suicidal terrorism', in which attackers typically see themselves as losers and target their anger to the society, often those who seem happy and successful.
'Feeling angry at people who they think are winners, they tend to choose privileged people as targets,' Prof Komiya said.
'They think they have nothing to lose, they don't care if they get caught or if they die.'

They are part of a growing trend that reflects a change to the Japanese society, where disparities are growing and ties among families, community and other groups have weakened and people are less obligated to follow the rules and be part of it, he said.
'Japan shouldn't be complacent about its safety anymore. We should follow the US and Europe and do more for risk management.'
How the act was carried out
About 70 people were working inside the three-story Kyoto Animation No. 1 studio in southern Kyoto, Japan's ancient capital, Thursday (local time) at the time of the attack.
The arsonist arrived carrying two containers of flammable liquid. He shouted, 'You die!' as he entered the studio's unlocked front door, dumped the liquid using a bucket, and set it afire with a lighter, police said, quoting witnesses.
Police at the scene confiscated the gasoline tanks, a knapsack and knives, but have not confirmed they belonged to the attacker.

A Kyoto police official declined to speculate how Aoba prepared the attack, saying he wanted the man to explain himself, as well as his motives.
© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2019
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