THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
June 3, 2020 at 14:34 JST
Shinji Aoba is seen in security camera footage near JR Uji Station on July 16, two days before the arson attack against a Kyoto Animation Co. studio. (Provided by a local resident)
KYOTO--Police have found no evidence backing the claims of mass murder suspect Shinji Aoba that Kyoto Animation Co. stole novels that he had entered in its contest, investigative sources said.
Kyoto prefectural police compared the content of Aoba’s works with those produced by Kyoto Animation and saw nothing in common, the sources said.
Aoba, 42, was arrested on suspicion of murder and other charges over an arson attack at a studio of Kyoto Animation last year that killed 36 people and injured many others.
Investigators believe Aoba might be suffering from delusions. The Kyoto District Public Prosecutors Office may seek court-ordered psychiatric evaluations for Aoba, which could take a few months to complete.
Aoba, who is from Saitama, was arrested on May 27 after a lengthy hospitalization for severe burns suffered in the fire at the studio. He has been claiming that his novels were stolen, the sources said.
Soon after the arson attack at the studio on July 18, 2019, a police officer captured Aoba about 100 meters south of the crime scene. At that time, Aoba said loudly, “(My novels) were plagiarized.”
He repeated that claim to investigators when he was hospitalized last November.
The Kyoto Animation contest was open to anyone.
Aoba entered one long and one short story. The short story was categorized under the theme of school life and students, the sources said.
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