More than 30 dead in an arson in an ‘anime’ studio in Japan

       

The president of Kyoto Animation has admitted that they had received death threats

At least 33 people have died and 40 have been injured in an arson fire on Thursday morning at the headquarters of a well-known Japanese animation studio in Kyoto, one of the largest cities in the country. The firemen have already put down the flames, but the number of victims is still not final. The Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has sent his condolences to the victims through his Twitter account.

The fire started at 10.30 local time, when a man whose identity has not been revealed entered the headquarters of Kyoto Animation and, after throwing gasoline, set fire to the building with the cry of “morid! ” A worker from a nearby office has told NHK, the public television of the country, that at that time he heard “a sudden explosion and a very loud noise” and that he immediately began to see smoke, so he called, he says, to the firemen instantly.

The causer, a 41-year-old male with no connection to the study, tried to escape but was caught 100 meters from the scene. Because of the burns he suffered in his feet, chest and face he was transferred to a hospital in police custody, where he confessed to being the author of the facts. Despite this, the motive of the attack remains a mystery. Several knives have been found at the scene, but it is also not known how they relate to events. A witness located the alleged culprit at a gas station 500 meters from the Kyoto Animation offices at ten in the morning, 30 minutes before the fire started, where he bought 40 liters of gasoline that was carried in two large carafes.

A witness located the alleged culprit at a gas station 500 meters from the Kyoto Animation offices at ten in the morning, 30 minutes before the fire started, where he bought 40 liters of gasoline that was carried in two large carafes.

35 fire trucks have moved to the scene and for five hours they have carried out rescue work in the building, where 70 people worked at the time of the attack. “12 people in cardiac arrest were found in the ground floor and on the first floor,” a spokesman for law enforcement told AFP. It was feared that there were many more victims on the upper floor, to which the flames spread rapidly. From its windows came a thick black smoke, as shown by the images of the live broadcast taken by the helicopters that flew over the area.

Kyoto Animation is one of the best-known anime studios in the country. It has 160 employees and since its foundation in 1981 produces movies and series, some of the best known are K-ON! and The melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. The studio is also famous for its good working conditions: they were the first to break the standard of pay per frame, which improved the salaries of their employees and eliminated the enormous pressure that characterizes the sector. In statements to local media, the president of Kyoto Animation, Hideaki Hatta, has reported that the company had received “many emails with death threats.”

The news has had a great impact on social networks, which has been joined by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, expressing his condolences while ensuring “no words” before what happened. Another company in the sector, Sentai Filmworks, has launched a fundraising campaign entitled Help KyoAni Heal – “helps to cure Kyoto Animation” – that in a few hours has already raised more than 250,000 dollars (223,000 euros).

 

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