National

Families of Kyoto Animation attack victims start receiving workers' comp

Kyodo

The regional bureau of the health ministry has started paying compensation claims for those killed in the Kyoto Animation Co. studio arson attack last July, after the agency recognized the deaths as work-related, victims’ families said Wednesday.

According to one of the families that filed a workers’ compensation claim, a letter of approval arrived in November, with part of the payment having already been made.

The deadly attack at the animation studio killed 36 workers and injured 33 others on July 18 last year.

The suspect in the attack, Shinji Aoba, 41, who also suffered severe burns, is alleged to have ignited gasoline inside the three-story building in Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, at the center of the company’s anime production, where 70 people were working at the time.

In September, the animation company held a briefing session on how to apply for workers’ compensation.

Labor authorities usually decide whether to grant or reject compensation claims within four months after requests are filed, according to the Kyoto Labor Bureau.

Those who are injured, become ill or die due to work or during their commutes to work can receive compensation, with labor standards offices assessing each case.

The bureau, citing privacy considerations, has not disclosed details of the compensation payments linked to the arson attack, such as how many claims were approved. Kyoto Animation also does not know whether its employees’ compensation claims have been granted, according to its lawyer.

For victims of crime, labor authorities now proactively grant workers’ compensation after the precedent set when it was provided to victims of a deadly sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system in 1995.

The attack, which was carried out by members of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult, killed 13 people and injured more than 6,000 others.