Police get arrest warrant as survivor recalls Kyoto arson

TOKYO (AP) – Japanese police have obtained an arrest warrant for a suspect as soon as he regains consciousness from injuries in a deadly arson at a Kyoto anime studio, officials said yesterday.

Kyoto police said they are ready to arrest Shinji Aoba, 41, on arson and murder allegations. Aoba is accused of storming Kyoto Animation’s number one studio last Thursday, setting it on fire and killing 34 people.

One of the survivors, an animator, told Japanese media he jumped from a window of the three-storey building gasping for air amid scorching heat after seeing a ” black mushroom cloud” rising from downstairs.

He was one of about 70 people who were working inside the studio in southern Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital, at the time of the attack.

The survivor, who was working on scenery and background for an ongoing project on the second floor, said he first heard commotion downstairs and a female voice screaming. Then a loud explosion followed by a colleague running up the stairs, shouting “Fire!” An alarm went off.

“A black mushroom cloud billowed up the stairs, perhaps within 15 seconds, then everything went black, like pouring black ink all over the place. I couldn’t see anything,” the man told NHK public television on condition of anonymity.

He said the building quickly filled with “diabolical smell, something that would kill you if you breathe in once.” He ran out to a balcony. “I had to decide whether to jump and get hurt, or die in the smoke,” he said.

Hot air right behind him, the animator jumped with several others.

He ended up with an injured arm.

A man and his daughter pray for the victims of last Thursday’s fire at the Kyoto Animation Studio building, (background right) in Kyoto, Japan. – AP