Shinji Aoba, the Kyoto Animation arsonist responsible for the deaths of 36 animation professionals, is finally being arrested. The attack took place in July 2019 and, due to a variety of factors, Japanese law enforcement has been unable to formally arrest Aoba. Nearly a year later, those issues are ostensibly smoothed out and an arrest has been made. The issues getting in the way were a combination of Japanese law, medical recovery on Aoba’s part, and the COVID-19 pandemic. This news was reported over at Yahoo! Japan and translated by multiple news outlets [thanks, SoraNews24!].
After Aoba walked into the Kyoto Animation office and started the fire, he stuck around to spread gasoline around, ensuring the building’s destruction and the reported 36 deaths. Aoba was detained on the scene, but suffered serious injuries in the fire. Due to Japanese law, an arrest cannot be made if the suspect cannot survive incarceration. So while Aoba was in custody, he was technically unable to be arrested. After recovering and going through physical therapy (including regaining the ability to speak), Aoba needed to be transported to a proper detention center.
Aoba’s compromised health meant options were limited, and after a first option was deemed unfit, a second was found but dealing with a COVID-19 problem. The problem was recently taken care of, and a warrant was read to Aoba earlier today.
Meanwhile, the remains of the Kyoto Animation building have been cleared, and the local community is still working on what will happen with the space.