National

Three months after deadly KyoAni arson attack, injured suspect's arrest remains out of reach

JIJI

The suspect in the deadly arson attack on Kyoto Animation Co. has yet to recover enough to be arrested even three months after the incident, investigative sources say.

The suspect, Shinji Aoba, 41, was severely burned in the July 18 attack on the company’s No. 1 studio Kyoto’s Fushimi Ward. The attack killed and injured dozens of people, including prominent directors and leading animators.

Aoba, who was initially taken to a hospital in the city, was later transferred to a hospital in Osaka Prefecture and has repeatedly received skin grafts and other surgeries in the intensive care unit.

He is now in stable condition and able to hold short conversations, sit up in the bed with support, and sit in a wheelchair, the sources said Thursday.

The Kyoto Prefectural Police obtained a warrant for Aoba’s arrest on suspicion of murder and attempted murder involving 36 and 34 people, respectively. But the warrant cannot be served until a doctor judges he has recovered enough to be taken into custody.

As statements made during police questioning at hospital may not be accepted by the courts as evidence, the police are carefully examining the idea of interviewing Aoba before arresting him, the sources said.