crime

More details emerge about anime studio arson attack that killed 33

76 Comments
By Tim Kelly

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76 Comments
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I hope the studio is guiltless in any dealings with the man.

-14 ( +5 / -19 )

How sad. The death toll just highlights how important it is to act quickly and get out by any means possible in the event of a fire.

19 ( +19 / -0 )

It also highlights the shoddy construction practices that is typical of buildings in Japan. Obviously no fire exits in a three -storey building that housed 60 + people.

25 ( +33 / -8 )

It also highlights the shoddy construction practices that is typical of buildings in Japan. Obviously no fire exits in a three -storey building that housed 60 + people.

How is this obvious? I haven't seen any pictures showing this, are we supposed to just accept it as fact based on you thinking it's obvious?

-14 ( +13 / -27 )

It also highlights the shoddy construction practices that is typical of buildings in Japan. Obviously no fire exits in a three -storey building that housed 60 + people.

I believe that current construction regulations and fire codes apply only to buildings of a certain age. Older buildings are not required to retrofit. I could be mistaken. It's like the fire code for operating a BnB. If you have a place smaller than a certain size, you do not need an integrated alarm system - or sprinklers - even if the house is new.

In any case, I read that the attacker had thrown additional gasoline into the windows, preventing, or at least making it difficult to escape that way. Windows can be fire exits, but it's rather difficult when the window is full of fire, eh?

13 ( +17 / -4 )

I hope the studio is guiltless in any dealings with the man.

Yeah I hope so too but nothing they might have done to him excuses what he has done in any way at all. I hope he rots in a cell for the rest of his life.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

are we supposed to just accept it as fact based on you thinking it's obvious?

Typical of you to bash someone's opinion like a bull in a China shop!

Looking at the several pictures and TV footage, the building appears to have had little in the way of Emergency Exits.

11 ( +21 / -10 )

Typical of you to bash someone's opinion like a bull in a China shop!

The guy said it was obvious there are no fire exits. I haven't seen anything to lead to that decision, so I questioned that it is obvious.

If people cannot support an opinion, then they either should not make it, or be willing to admit it was unsupported when they made it.

Looking at the several pictures and TV footage, the building appears to have had little in the way of Emergency Exits.

As you say "appears to". I'm not concerned with appearances, I want to know if it did or did not.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Gas stations shouldn’t sell jerry cans of gasoline for people to take away. I believe this practice is banned in my home country, the UK.

Look at what can be done with them in the wrong hands.

-11 ( +5 / -16 )

Gas stations shouldn’t sell jerry cans of gasoline for people to take away. I believe this practice is banned in my home country, the UK.

This country is awash with people who depend upon kerosene heaters in the winter. It would be pretty hard to ban that.

12 ( +20 / -8 )

Kerosene doesn’t ignite the way gasoline does. I don’t think you can set kerosine alight with a lighter.

18 ( +19 / -1 )

@Strangerland

http://www.kerosenestoves.net/FlammablesandCombustibles.html

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Interesting, thanks for the info.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

The weapon of choice is irrelevant.

It does not matter whether people these days choose to commit mass murder with guns, knives, or keroscene.

Mass murderers kill not because of the availability of these weapons, but because they enjoy the notoriety and infamy their acts of terror create. This is why we are seeing more and more mass murders around the world at a rate that is unprecedented in history.

Someone in Japan (or anywhere else in the world) seeing nonstop media and online news coverage of a mass shooter killing over 50 people in America, is only going to be inspired by such things and become a copy cat as they, too, seek that kind of infamy.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Yeah I hope so too but nothing they might have done to him excuses what he has done in any way at all. I hope he rots in a cell for the rest of his life.

Agreed. And I nearly posted something along the same lines. I just would hate to see the president of the company feel responsible for this, or for anyone to say, "well they had it coming" etc.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The company moved buildings in 2017. The one with the fire had a fire escape from the 2nd floor to the flat floor. But in video of the fire that escape is no longer there.

https://www.google.com/maps/@34.9254064,135.798758,3a,75y,329.96h,92.78t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s1wcccRu0S9vmNEUfu49NGw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en-US

7 ( +9 / -2 )

I am puzzled as to why no one seems able to have ascended to the rooftop via the stairwell? Floor plan schematics were broadcast on NHK and clearly showed two exits above the third floor. The rooftop does not seem to show any significant fire damage. Videos filmed during the fire show no one on the roof or on any of the three balconies that run the entire length of each floor opposite the stairwell. Were those exits blocked? sealed? locked? Was this similar to the Sewol disaster where the victims were told to remain in place until help arrived? It will be even more tragic if this horrible incident turns out to have been somewhat preventable or diminished in scope.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

“Gas stations shouldn’t sell jerry cans of gasoline for people to take away.”

I know a lot of farmers that need to buy gasoline in cans for their farm machinery.

I saw an interview with a man who works in the neighborhood who along with others helped rescue some people through a small toilet window.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Gas stations shouldn’t sell jerry cans of gasoline for people to take away. I believe this practice is banned in my home country, the UK.

You cant use 20 litre jerry cans in the UK, only 10 litre ones. I think in Japan can you can still use 20 litre ones for gasoline & kerosene. I've certainly seen old fellas filling them up for their garden strimmers and ploughs, and I've even filled up a few PET bottles myself without anyone objecting.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I am puzzled as to why no one seems able to have ascended to the rooftop via the stairwell? 

They did try - a number of the bodies were found in that stairwell apparently.

Smoke rises.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Was the door to the roof locked? If so, someone needs to be held accountable.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Shiniyata, “I am puzzled as to why no one seems able to have ascended to the rooftop via the stairwell?”

I wrote about this in more detail on one of the other threads. Basically about 20 people managed to get up toward the roof exit, which was not blocked nor locked, but unfortunately no one managed to get out onto the roof.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I have (and use) two 20 liter cans, a 10 liter and a 5 liter. But if restricted to 10 liter cans, would simply need to increase the number.

I too suspected that there was no fire exit, no sprinklers, no annual fire inspection, and no fire drills. I'd like to be proven wrong.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

In that google photo - it looks like that fire escape was to let people ascend to the roof, since it doesn't extend to the ground. Also, looking at the balcony - I see no cut-outs to drop floor to floor.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

There were over seventy individuals in this three storey building, and yet it seems that one man carrying two heavy twenty litre jerry cans of petrol managed to douse almost all the ways of egress unchallenged - and then escape.

I find that absolutely astonishing.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Upon second look - that isn't the same building - compare building size and length of balcony.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

How is this obvious? I haven't seen any pictures showing this, are we supposed to just accept it as fact based on you thinking it's obvious

Only a few people died on the first floor, where the fire started. The vast majority died on the 2nd and 3rd floors. This means there was no way out besides going down the stairs to the first floor. If there were fire exits, dont you think people would have used them? Smh..

8 ( +10 / -2 )

The majority of the bodies were found on 2nd floor stairs and the 3rd floor trying to reach the roof but probably collapsed from the thick smoke before they could escape.

This company has many offices/studio's. 3 in Kyoto but also Osaka and the head office is in Tokyo.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Oldman_13

“The weapon of choice is irrelevant.”

I think it is very relevant in this case. I sincerely doubt the assailant would have been able to kill 33 grown adults in a 3-story building with knives in the same ease he did with gasoline and fire

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Gas stations shouldn’t sell jerry cans of gasoline for people to take away. I believe this practice is banned in my home country, the UK.

Look at what can be done with them in the wrong hands.

Where I come from, people use them for lawnmowers and in case their car dies and they have to walk to the gas station to get gas. As far as I know, people don't go around lighting up office buildings with gas cans.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

@Stewart Gale Don't know if banning jerry cans would have helped. It's fairly easy for someone to draw gasoline out of their car's gas tank with a standard garden hose and some suction (mouth or vacuum) to kickstart the flow, if they really wanted to get around such regulations.

Tragic day, condolences to the families of those affected. Some beautiful anime made here too.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Only a few people died on the first floor, where the fire started. The vast majority died on the 2nd and 3rd floors. This means there was no way out besides going down the stairs to the first floor. If there were fire exits, dont you think people would have used them? Smh..

Maybe. Maybe not if they had fire in front of them.

Sorry but you can try all sorts of abstract logic to show evidence towards your theory. But I’m not interested in theories or evidence that supports them. I’m interested in whether they actually has any emergency exits.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The majority of the bodies were found on 2nd floor stairs and the 3rd floor trying to reach the roof but probably collapsed from the thick smoke before they could escape.

This! Did you see the videos with the smoke? Thick black smoke, i think people panicked and couldn't see anything and got stuck in the smoke.

I knew gasoline was flammable but what they showed last night on TV was that gasoline also has a sort of explosive effect with the flames just bursting in to one ocean of fire, which is I think the MF who did it also got burned in the process. I hope he is in a lot of pain.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They did try - a number of the bodies were found in that stairwell apparently.

Smoke rises.

I read elsewhere that the door to the roof, in typical fashion, was locked...

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Gas stations shouldn’t sell jerry cans of gasoline for people to take away. I believe this practice is banned in my home country, the UK.

This is completely untrue, please dont spread misinformation. My family used to fill up cans all the time in the UK to fuel our boat. You can't always drive the thing you need to fuel into a petrol station.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I read elsewhere that the door to the roof, in typical fashion, was locked...

I’ve only seen that in comments, no reports.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The floorplans show a regular internal staircase off to the side and a spiral one in the middle of the floor.

The reports talk about lots of paper, but animators would presumably also use celluloid, which burns/explodes to produce highly toxic fumes. In fact many things, a sofa, any foam insulation in the building, etc will produce toxic fumes if doused in petrol and lit. It is not an eventuality things are designed for. It looks like many of the victims were quickly overcome by fumes when trying to escape.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@strangerland

"Firefighters arriving soon after the fire began found the door to the roof was shut but could be opened from the outside, Kyodo said."

https://japantoday.com/category/crime/More-details-emerge-about-anime-studio-arson-attack-that-killed-33

5 ( +5 / -0 )

“The vast majority died on the 2nd and 3rd floors. This means there was no way out besides going down the stairs to the first floor. If there were fire exits, dont you think people would have used them?”

“I read elsewhere that the door to the roof, in typical fashion, was locked...”

“Was the door to the roof locked? If so, someone needs to be held accountable.”

Many were apparently trying to get to the door leading to the roof. The TV news specifically said the door to the roof was closed but not locked.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Firefighters arriving soon after the fire began found the door to the roof was shut but could be opened from the outside, Kyodo said.

That is not going to help anyone on the inside.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@ Shane McGrath, I stand corrected.

Apologies for my inaccurate statement.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

kohakuebisuToday 02:08 pm JST

The floorplans show a regular internal staircase off to the side and a spiral one in the middle of the floor.

The reports talk about lots of paper, but animators would presumably also use celluloid, which burns/explodes to produce highly toxic fumes. In fact many things, a sofa, any foam insulation in the building, etc will produce toxic fumes if doused in petrol and lit. It is not an eventuality things are designed for. It looks like many of the victims were quickly overcome by fumes when trying to escape.

Think you have a point about combustible materials there, don't know why

It took 1 day to put out a fire

Nobody managed to get o the windows to jump, again maybe due to the panic and speed of the fire

Hope the authorities learn from this.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

KapunaToday  02:21 pm JST

Firefighters arriving soon after the fire began found the door to the roof was shut but could be opened from the outside, Kyodo said.

“That is not going to help anyone on the inside.”

The firefighters arriving from outside would naturally be opening the roof door from outside. That doesn’t preclude that it could also be opened from inside. But it might be difficult when the people trying are panicked, and perhaps losing consciousness and the ability to function from the effects of thick, black, toxic smoke, which would also impair visibility.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The killer will get what's coming to him, but there is no way that building was not in violation of (weakly enforced) fire safety regulations.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Sad

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I hope he rots in a cell for the rest of his life.

Death penalty, IMO.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Usually, when such an event as this happens in Japan, news, media, authorities and foriegners (wearing rose tinted spectacles) tell everybody, that dispite this, Japan is so safe.

It seems to be delayed this time.,

My deepest sympathies to all thoses affected by this.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The real issue is Japan's fire code for commercial buildings. This building had only one front door, no fire exits or fire escapes. The windows are also very narrow and small. Unknown if there was a sprinkler system install within the building. These poor folks did not have a chance.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

This building was an overcrowded death trap. The door to the roof was locked. There were no sprinkler systems in the building because of its size. There was only one small set of internal stairs. The company would have had a lot of paper, paints, inks and solvents within the building. You can be sure they were not stored in a firesafe area. The toxic fumes from these paints and solvents would have been what killed all the people trapped in the stairwell trying to get onto the roof. Admittedly, this was the result of a crazed loon on a rampage. However, I'm quite sure that if there were better fire prevention strategies in place the death toll would not be so high.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

zichi, I think you got the wrong building there. I believe this is the correct one. The surroundings look like those you can see in the videos also. And having a look at the satellite view there is indeed no staircase on the outside of the building.

https://www.google.com/maps/@34.9328912,135.7929442,3a,60y,342.02h,98.37t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s6J_Btj9-AejezqtatEcUvA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en

The coordinates are 34°55′59.0″N 135°47′34.6″E if you want to have a look at it yourself.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

In Turkey you can't buy gasoline from gas stations in a bottle or a can. You can only get it filled to your car or bike. And there are nearly zero arson cases in Turkey thanks to that.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Confusius

zichi, I think you got the wrong building there. I believe this is the correct one. The surroundings look like those you can see in the videos also. And having a look at the satellite view there is indeed no staircase on the outside of the building.

Yes thank you so much. I did have the wrong building in my comment. This company has several buildings.

In deed there are no external fore escapes or stairs. No escape hatches in the balconies.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Kerosene for your heater you put into a plastic jerry can or container. There is a warning on the container that it is illegal to fill it with gasoline.

Gasoline on the other hand needs to go directly into your vehicle tank, or into a specially designed metal jerry can with sealed locking lid.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If he can demonstrate that his novel was plagiarized, he has an obvious legal case. Why the mass murder?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This remind me of the terrorist attack on the French cartoon Charlie Hebdo when 12 people were killed.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Looking at photos of the building before and after the fire I see that there is a large balcony on both the second and third floors, sometimes there are rope ladders on the balcony or just inside it. The photo of the the same side of the building after the fire shows most of the damage is at these two balconies so the arsonist may have doused those areas to keep people from escaping through the balcony.

Jumping from a second or third floor can break an ankle or leg but is rarely fatal.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

“Nobody managed to get o the windows to jump, again maybe due to the panic and speed of the fire”

Not true. As I mentioned in an earlier post (maybe a different thread), some escaped through a small toilet window with the help of people from the neighborhood. I also saw video of someone hanging a window, I think it was the second floor but was possibly the third floor.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Reuters has identified the alleged arsonist as Shinj Aoba according to NHK sources

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There’s been a lot of comments about lots of paper, celluloid, paint etc on the premises and I wouldn’t be surprised if that was true. But I also wouldn’t be surprised if those weren’t such a big factor as maybe much animation is done with computers now? Even if they were using computers there could have been a lot of archival stuff on the premises. Anyone been inside the building recently who can say what it was like?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If Japan had a working judicial system, people would turn to the courts to settle their disputes, rather than resort to street justice. The man thought his ideas were stolen, he should've sued the studio, but he didn't trust the judiciary. This is what happens when people have no faith in the court system.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

"You hear about gun killings overseas, but anyone can get their hands on gasoline and that is pretty frightening," he said. "You can't stop people from buying gasoline, perhaps there's a way to offer help to people who might be tempted to commit crimes."

I couldn't have said it better myself.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why was the roof door locked?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The building is very recent (2015) and was compliant with all safety regulations (most recently evaluated in 2018). The attacker made sure the two exits on the groundfloor were set on fire first; those who tried to escape anyhow were sprayed with gasoline by him and burnt alive. I think this attack was planned in detail, so my idea is that somehow the attacker may have been able to lock the door to the roof as well, in order to kill as many people as possible. There was simply no way out...

My thoughts go to the victims and their close friends and family.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

For your information, it is considered you can't go through a distance longer than about 5 meters of space filled with smoke without inhalating lethal gases and going unconscious...

As far as I can see and judge, I repeat the fire standards for some buildings in Japan seem very poor.

Same level as for driving where so many Japanese don't feel worth putting their seatbelt on, including my own family here ! (Going mad)

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I repeat what I said yesterday, if this man was either mentally ill or mobbed at work he should not receive the death sentence. Life in prison/psychiatric ward would make it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Why was the roof door locked?

That's where a lot of anime shenanigans happen

Fire escape egress stairs, fire sprinklers / suppression systems

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Correction: “hanging a window” should have been “hanging out of a window”

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Why was the roof door locked?

I visited a friend a number of times who stayed in a mental hospital (closed station) in Chofu, and being an Engineer, before leaving the Hospital through the basement, once followed the green "Emergency exit" signs. Just to see how a mental hospital with locked up "mentals" handles these exits. Of course, the steel door leading to the outside of the building was locked (but had the green sign on it...)

The next time I visited, I mentioned this to a nurse on the nurse station, and she replied that in case of a fire or emergency "the guard man will come with the key and open the door"...

I can't even start to imagine how it must feel to have made it almost to the top and then you stand in front of a locked door that you can't break. OMG.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

RIP to the people that were trapped and had no way out. The roof escape route would have saved the majority of those people if it had been unlocked. Management should be blamed and brought to trial if they are alive.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Unfortunately, this building was not so large, so I think they didn't have a duty to have a equipment/system against fire.

However, even if this building had such a equipment, I guess it was almost impossible for victims to escape when they found the fire, because this bastard used gasoline. It's quite different from kerosene.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

you've got the golden rule a bit backwards, it’s “treat others as you wish to be treated” not how you or they want.

& Educator60, do you have the links for those interviews or videos about the people escaping through the small toilet window &/or hanging from the window ? i cant find much on any of it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The culprit will definitely be executed according to existing laws and criteria. Mental health issues or not, that is what he will get after the death toll has gone to 34 now. Personally, I think he deserves to be forced into a walk of shame in public and on the way to the gallows.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This place was a death trap waiting to happen.

What from I've heard it had no fire extinguishers, no sprinkler systems, no fire escapes on upper floors and highly likely a LOCKED roof door, hence a lot people died on the staircase to the roof, trying to get out.

It's sad that this place had more security to keep people out at the roof than they did at the main entrance.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No excuses. The place for plagiarism dispute is a court room. Killing people is not the way.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The animation studio is in big trouble as the building was unfit as working place even a falling candle could have killed all.

I smell now a nationwide checking for buildings like this

a better building and nobody had died

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This building must be constructed from concrete because after an intense fire, it's still standing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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