• Kyodo


A 60-year-old woman was arrested Sunday on suspicion of setting fire to a shed located in a vacant residence compound in the Harutori district of the city of Kushiro on Saturday night, local police said.

Police said they suspect Eiko Wakahara, who is thought to be unemployed, attempted to burn the shed by lighting some paper and placing it by the shed door. The fire went out after burning only the surface of the door, according to police.

Wakahara is a senior member of a local residents’ association and was an active participant in fire-prevention patrols by residents last December.

Wakahara, who was found near the arson site, admitted during a voluntary police interrogation that she started the fire, they said.

There have been more than 10 cases of arson or attempted arson targeting sheds and other spots in the neighborhood since August 2000. Police are investigating whether Wakahara might have been involved in the other cases.

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