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Suspected Japanese Anime Studio Arsonist Said His Book Was Plagiarized, Police Say

The man suspected of setting the deadly anime studio fire in Kyoto, Japan Thursday may have done it because his book had been plagiarized, police say.

Shinji Aoba, 41, was identified by authorities as the suspect who started the fire that killed 33 and injured 35 people working for Kyoto Animation Studio, the New York Port reported.

Aoba, who is hospitalized with severe burns, did not confirm who, if anyone, he blamed at the studio for plagiarizing his book, authorities said.

“I did it,” he reportedly told the police.

Authorities also said that Aoba, a resident of the Tokyo suburb of Saitama, was convicted in 2012 of robbing a convenience store, for which he served 3 1/2 years.

After his release he lived in a shelter with other convicts before moving into his apartment, where he is reported to have had run-ins with neighbors.

The attack is alleged to have started when Aoba wheeled a cart carrying at least one 5-gallon can of gasoline into the building and shouted “you die!” as he set the fire, police reported.

Victims included 12 men, 20 women and one person yet to be identified, all of whom worked for the animation company, CNN reported.

People were reportedly seen running up to the roof in an attempt to escape, while survivors emerged from the building barefoot and bleeding, the Associated Press reported.

The animation company does film and TV productions and is known for stories involving high school girls. Some of its titles are “Lucky Star,” “K-On!” and “Haruhi Suzumiya.”

“They are the people who carry the Japan’s animation industry on their shoulders. I can’t bear to accept the fact they are being hurt or losing their lives,” Kyoto Animation CEO Hideaki Yata said of the victims.


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