National

Japanese government mulls tax breaks for donations to arson-hit Kyoto Animation

Kyodo

The government is considering providing tax breaks for donations to arson-hit Kyoto Animation Co., industry minister Hiroshige Seko confirmed Thursday, in a bid to encourage companies and individuals to support the anime firm as it rebuilds its business.

The government is planning to allow donations to the Kyoto-based company to be fully treated as deductible expenses by having them delivered through local governments, government sources said.

It is unusual for the government to consider giving preferential tax treatment to support a specific company, but the initiative was proposed by a group of lawmakers late last month and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has pledged to deal with the issue based on their suggestions.

When companies make donations to a specific firm there is a limit on the size of deductible expenses, calculated based on such factors as the donors’ capital stock and income.

Financial aid to a specific company by individuals is not eligible for tax breaks, but all donations either from companies or individuals to local municipalities can be treated as deductible expenses.

The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry, the Finance Ministry and the National Tax Agency will work out details of the plan on tax breaks for Kyoto Animation-bound donations, the sources said.

“Although specific details have yet to be decided, we are studying what kind of plan is desirable,” Seko told a news conference.

One option being considered is to apply the envisioned plan more generally to support companies that have become victims of crimes, not only Kyoto Animation, the sources said.

Kyoto Animation, often referred to as KyoAni by fans, is known for works such as “K-On!” and “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya,” which depict the everyday lives of high school girls.

A studio of the company in Kyoto’s Fushimi Ward, the center of its anime production, was set ablaze in the attack on July 18, leaving 35 people dead and dozens injured.

The suspect, Shinji Aoba, allegedly spread and ignited gasoline inside the three-story building but has since remained hospitalized with severe burns. Police are waiting for him to recover before they arrest him on murder and arson charges.