Prosecutors in Japan Seek Death Penalty for Arsonist

Prosecutors in Japan are seeking the death penalty for the suspect in an arson attack in 2019 that killed 36 people, Justin McCurry reports for The Guardian. Shinji Aoba admitted in court in September 2023 to starting the fire and faces five charges, including murder, attempted murder and arson. Lawyers for Aoba, who underwent a psychiatric evaluation before standing trial, entered a plea of not guilty, claiming a psychological disorder had rendered him incapable of distinguishing between right and wrong. Aoba, who is accused of breaking into the studio’s building and setting light to gasoline he had poured on the ground floor, apologized for the first time on Wednesday. Aoba alleged that the studio had plagiarized his work. Aoba himself suffered more than 90% burns and had to undergo 12 operations. The court is due to deliver its verdict on 25 January.


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