Suspect Is Arrested in Anime Studio Fire in Japan That Killed 36

The police in Japan on Wednesday arrested a man suspected of setting fire to an anime studio in Kyoto that killed 36 people last summer in the worst mass killing in the country in decades.

The suspect, Shinji Aoba, 42, was arrested after he had recovered enough from the injuries he suffered in the blaze to face charges, and after Japan lifted its coronavirus lockdown.

The July 18 attack on Kyoto Animation, a famed anime studio that produced popular “slice of life” shows and movies, shocked Japan for its targeting of a symbol of the country’s popular culture and a major soft-power export. Officials said that the attacker had shouted “Die!” as he entered the building and then tried to escape, but collapsed on the street outside and was subdued by workers.

The Japanese news media reported that Mr. Aoba, who had spent more than three years in prison for robbing a convenience store in 2012, had a grudge against the studio because he thought it “stole novels.”

The police said that after Mr. Aoba had entered the studio, he poured accelerant on the floor and set fire to it, with the blaze quickly engulfing the building. Many of the victims died from carbon monoxide poisoning. At least 30 others were wounded.

The attack came just weeks after an attacker went on a rampage in a Tokyo suburb in which 17 schoolgirls were stabbed, killing one of them and an adult.

Mr. Aoba was unconscious for weeks after the blaze and suffered severe burns that reportedly left him unable to walk or feed himself.

“We will now focus on the suspect’s interrogation and pursue our investigation in order to fully examine the crime,” Toshiyuki Kawase, a police investigator, told reporters.

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