Kyoto Animation Arson Trial Offers Hopeful Update

It has been several years since the Kyoto Animation arson took place, and soon, the case's trial may come to a close. Recently, the Kyoto District Court shared an update on the high-profile trial and its timeline. If the case goes according to plan, officials believe the case will be finished at some point this year.

Of course, no specific window was given for the case's close. Prosecutors are still working through their presentation and ongoing cases are obviously sensitive in nature. Suspect Shinji Aoba remains in custody for the July 2019 attack, and he has been indicted on charges including murder.

For those unaware of the devastating case, the attack took place in the Fushimi war of Kyoto where Kyoto Animation housed its Studio 1 team. That morning, Aoba allegedly set fire to the building while 70 people were inside. A total of 36 people were killed during the attack while 34 others were injured. The arson destroyed much of the material being housed at Studio 1, and in its wake, the Kyoto Animation attack became one of Japan's deadliest events since World War II.

According to authorities, Aoba is suspected of bringing 11 gallons of gasoline to the building and dousing it around the area as well as on employees. Once the fire was set, the suspected tried to flee but collapsed due to their own injuries. Police quickly apprehended Aoba and sent him to a hospital for medical assistance. Due to the severity of their injuries, the suspect was hospitalized through May 2020 before their arrest, and Aoba was formally indicted on charges by the end of December 2020.

The Kyoto Animation arson stands as one of anime's most tragic events, and its lengthy case has left survivors and the bereaved without closure. While many families chose to keep their loved ones' deaths private, others shared their stories with the world. The families of Naomi Ishida and Futoshi Nishiya confirmed their loved ones' deaths once DNA testing was done. And in the wake of such loss, Kyoto Animation delayed a number of projects. In the years following the attack, Kyoto Animation has remembered those who died with anniversary projects, and talks of a memorial have been held. 

At this time, there is no word on what punishment the case's prosecution hopes to have handed down should a guilty verdict be given. The death penalty is legal in Japan and reserved for heinous crimes including cases of multiple homicides. The nation's last execution was held in July 2022, and there are over 100 inmates on Death Row in Japan.