Police Questioning Suspect In Kyoto Studio Fire

Police questioning suspect in Kyoto studio fire

NHK has learned that police have begun a bedside interrogation of the suspect in a deadly arson attack that claimed the lives of dozens of people and left the suspect hospitalized with burns to his entire body.

Investigative sources say Shinji Aoba has recovered enough to answer questions about the July fire at Kyoto Animation studio.

The blaze killed 36 people and injured 33 others. Police obtained an arrest warrant for 41-year-old Aoba on suspicion of arson and murder and have been waiting for him to recover.

The sources say Aoba admitted to the charges and repeated what he reportedly shouted as he left the scene of the attack -- that he set fire to the studio because he believed it had stolen material from a novel he wrote.

Aoba has reportedly told hospital workers that he expects to be sentenced to death.

The suspect sent two novels to Kyoto Animation. The company said the novels did not pass preliminary screening because they were not sent in the correct format. It has denied there is any resemblance between material in his novels and the studio's works.

Police plan to arrest Aoba when he recovers further.