• Kyodo


A resident of the western suburb of Hino has been arrested on suspicion of torching an apartment under construction in neighboring Tama in September, the Metropolitan Police Department said.

Satoshi Kasuya, 22, reportedly admitted to the charge, and the police suspect he may have been behind five similar incidents in Tama that month.

All six buildings were still under construction and traces of flammable liquid were reportedly found at each site. The attacks took place in a area with radius of 2 km from Sept. 12 to 21.

Kasuya, who is unemployed, was arrested for allegedly starting a fire on the first floor of the building at around 2 a.m. on Sept. 12, police said.

Investigators say he admitted to the charges and hinted he was involved in other fires.

“I poured gasoline and set it on fire,” he was quoted by police on Sunday as saying.

Police identified Kasuya from surveillance video footage at a nearby self-service gas station, where a man was seen parking a motorbike and filling plastic containers with gasoline about an hour before the attack.

Police found the remains of a plastic container at the crime scene that resembled the one in the video.

It was unclear why Kasuya carried out the attack.

“I was frustrated,” he told investigators, police said. He said he had no connection to the construction company or its owners.

Meanwhile, a 17-year-old man from Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, who was arrested for theft in November, has confessed to involvement in a series of suspected arsons in the area this summer, including one that killed an elderly couple.

Fire broke out at the apartment of 67-year-old Masanori Kitamura and his wife, Fumiko, 65, at around 4:45 a.m. on Aug. 1. They did not escape.

The boy, whose name has not been disclosed because he is a minor, was arrested Nov. 16 for allegedly stealing about ¥370,000 in cash from a home in mid-September. He reportedly told police he was “only playing with fire.”

Police say the fire was followed by three other arson attacks within minutes of each other at warehouses and residential buildings within a 400-meter radius.

Police are investigating possible connections between the August attacks with two similar incidents in Fushimi Ward on July 26 and 29.

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