Japanese public broadcaster NHK has reported on Saturday that, according to the police, the death toll in the Kyoto Animation arson attack has now risen to 35 people.
Kyoto Shimbun also reports that the latest casualty is a male studio employee in his 20s.
According to the police, the employee is believed to be in the first floor of the company’s first stuio building at that time, but he was able to escape on his own but sustained serious burn injuries to his body and was immediately transported to the hospital.
As of press time, the latest count on people who had been injured on the arson attack in now at 33 people.
Kyoto Animation’s first studio building, located in Uji City in Kyoto Prefecture, was engulfed in flames on Thursday, July 18, at 10:30am local time (09:30am PHT) which took the lives of 35 people and severely injured 33 more. Local police said that there are about 74 people inside the building when the fire started.
A 41-year-old man has been apprehended by the police and identified by witnesses as the suspect, who threw gasoline inside the building and shouted “Die!” before setting the building on fire.
The authorities say that the suspect claims his work is being “plagarized” by the animation studio, but they did not find a connection between the supect and the company.
Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported that, according to investigative sources, the suspect was previously arrested in 2012 for armed robbery at a convenience store and he was sentenced to three years and six months in jail.
The suspect was not formally arrested as of press time because he was being treated in a hospital for serious burn injuries, but the authorities are saying that he had admitted to the crime.
This incident is now considered as one of the deadliest massacres in Japan’s history since the end of World War II, and one of the deadliest building fire in the country after Myojo 56 building fire in 2001, which is also suspected as arson.
When news of the Kyoto Animation fire broke, messages of support from fans, world leaders and businesses made its way to social media, including from technology giant Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Embassy of the Philippines (Tokyo).
North American anime distributor Sentai Filmworks has set-up a crowdfunding campaign to help the anime studio and the victims of the attack, which has now collected over USD2 million. Software giant Adobe Inc. also donated USD50,000 to the campaign.
Several organizations, including Crunchyroll streaming service and Animate retail shop, had also set-up their own fundraising campaigns.
The anime studio has also opened a bank account on Thursday to accept donations, which they plan to give to help the families of the victims of the attack, as well as for the studio’s rebuilding.
The company also announced in a media interview that they are considering demolishing the first studio building, which would be replaced by a public park and a tribute to the victims of the attack.
Kyoto Animation was founded in 1981 by Yoko Hatta and her husband Hideaki Hatta. The animation studio is known for producing several popular anime titles in recent years like The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, K-On!, and Free! Iwatobi Swim Club among others.
Their latest work was the drama anime Violet Evergarden, which was released on streaming service Netflix on a simulcast basis in 2018.
The anime studio was also responsible for the critically-acclaimed anime film adaptation of A Silent Voice, which was screened in Philippine cinemas in May 2017.