National

Japanese government to tighten gasoline sale rules after Kyoto arson attack

Kyodo

The government will tighten rules on the sale of gasoline following a deadly arson attack on a Kyoto Animation Co. studio in July, officials said Saturday.

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency will revise an ordinance and oblige gas stations and other sellers to conduct ID checks and ask customers the reason for the purchase, possibly starting next February, the officials said.

The agency in July requested all gasoline sellers to check buyers’ IDs on a voluntary basis. But as customers declined in some cases, the businesses demanded that the agency make it compulsory.

The agency hopes the stricter rule will also encourage gasoline sellers to quickly report suspicious customers to police.

On July 18, the Kyoto Animation studio was set ablaze after a man spread and ignited gasoline inside the three-story building, killing 36 people.

The suspect, Shinji Aoba, is believed to have purchased 40 liters of gasoline in two cans and taken them on a cart to the studio right before the incident.

The police have obtained an arrest warrant for Aoba, who remains hospitalized after sustaining severe burns in the attack, on suspicion of murder and arson, among other charges.

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