"I have no words": The head of the set fire-retarded Japanese studio mourns for young employees
KYOTO, Japan (Reuters) – Many victims of an arson attack on a Japanese animation studio were young and had a bright future. Some joined only in April, said the shocked company president on Saturday, when the death toll rose to 34.  People Pray for the Victims of the Burning Kyoto Animation Building in Kyoto, Japan, July 20, 2019. REUTERS / Kim Kyung-Hoon
The attack on Kyoto Animation, known for its television series and films, was Japan's worst mass to kill in two decades. It was all the more poignant that the youth of the victims could be seen in a country where the population is one of the oldest in the world.
Many of the victims of the attack in the ancient capital of Kyoto were young women, said company president Hideaki Hatta.
"Some of them did not come to us until April. And on the eighth of July, I gave them a small, but their first bonus, "he said.
"People who had a promising future died. I do not know what to say. Instead of feeling annoyed, I just have no words, "Hatta said.
Fifteen of the victims were in their twenties and eleven in their thirties, the public broadcaster NHK said, six were in their forties and one was at least 60 The age of the last victim, a man who had died in hospital, was unknown, and the names of the victims were not disclosed.
The studio had about 1
60 employees with an average age of 33.
The police did confirmed the identity of the suspect as Shinji Aoba, but refused to provide any further comments.
Aoba lives in a modest two-story residential building, 500 km from Kyoto, in a rural suburb just outside Omiya, a transportation hub north of Tokyo. 19659003] A 27-year-old neighbor said that Aoba once grabbed him and shouted at him over a noise dispute.
"He started dragging me into the Do not yell to shut up. He grabbed me by the collar and started pulling on my hair. It was awful, "said the neighbor, who did not identify himself.
Aoba has been convicted of robbery in the past and is suspected of carrying out the arson attack because he believed his novel had been plagiarized, Japanese media said.
Hatta, the company president, said he has no idea about a plagiarism claim, and he has not seen any correspondence from the suspect.
The people near the studio said that the day before the attack, they saw a man in a nearby park who met Aoba's description. The police suspect that he spent a day or more in the area to prepare. Resident Rie Bannai said her nephew saw the man sleeping on a bench in the park.
The police have not officially arrested Aoba for being treated for severe burns, NHK said, but have taken the unusual step of releasing his name.
Rui Yamaguchi, who works in a nearby factory, said he saw the suspect when he was arrested.
"He looked like a doll without hair and blackened. One of his trouser legs had wrapped around his calf. It looked like it burned down, "he said.
"BEAUTIFUL AND WARM"
Near the blackened studio building, where the smell of burning wood lingered over the neighborhood, animation fans gathered to supplement a growing pile of flowers, drinks, and other offerings.
Bing Xie, 25, a Chinese student at Kyoto University, said she could not forgive the arsonist.
"The criminal who does this seems mentally disturbed, but I can not forgive him." The young people in Kyoto Animation were beautiful and warm and it's hard to accept that they have disappeared. "
The police guarded the site, as an investigator, some on the roof nearby, where many died in a connecting staircase, examined the blackened building.
Hatta said the building must be demolished
Homage to the victims has shed light on social media, and world leaders and the managing director of Apple Inc. ( AAPL.O ) have expressed condolences. The hashtag #PrayforKyoAni, as the studio is known among fans, has become popular.
Kyoto Animation produces popular "anime" series like "Sound! Euphonium ". It is also known for "Violet Evergarden", which was shown on Netflix.
Tim Kelly and Sam Nussay reporting, additional coverage by Naomi Tajitsu in Saitama; Writing by David Dolan and Hideyuki Sano; Edited by Nick Macfie
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