Kyoto Animation Issues Statement About July 18 Fire, Japan Gov’t Considering Support Measures for Studio

Kyoto Animation posted a message to “everyone around the world” in Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean, and German on Monday. The message reads:

An unprecedented atrocity has robbed many of our friends and colleagues of their bright futures and has left many deeply injured.
News from all over the world tells us that amazingly many number of people has sent us their hearts and prayers, which are like candles in the darkness, for those of us trapped in the darkness of deepest grief.
There are many friends and colleagues who are hospitalized and suffering, fighting for their lives.
Please give us some time.
We promise that Kyoto Animation will continue to create animation that help people have dreams, hope and impress them.
Kyoto Animation will continue to make its employees and staff lead happy lives, and contribute to society and local community.
I assure you that Kyoto Animation will not give up, we will not go quietly into the night…we will not vanish without a fight!

Kyoto Animation Co. CEO Hideaki Hatta

Meanwhile, Japan’s national news agency NHK reported on Monday that Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga stated that the Japanese government is considering support measures for Kyoto Animation after the July 18 fire at Kyoto Animation’s 1st Studio building that killed 35 people and injured 33 others.

Suga stated at a press conference on Monday that a nonpartisan, all-party diet group has proposed support measures for the victims and the company. The proposal includes suggestions of tax breaks for donations, and providing support for animator training.

Suga stated at the press conference about the proposal that he is considering concrete support measures, but first wants to assess the situation with the relevant government agencies before discussing measures such as compensation to those who died or were injured, or rebuilding management.

Suga also stated he in particular wants to discuss support through the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, as well as other government agencies, regarding accepting donation money domestically and from abroad.

On July 18 at around 10:30 a.m. JST, a devastating fire broke out at Kyoto Animation’s 1st Studio building, killing 35 people and injuring 33 others. 30 fire engines responded to the fire, and firefighters were able to extinguish most of the fire within five hours after it started, but the fire was not fully put out until 6:20 a.m. on July 19.

Of those confirmed dead after being located at the studio, firefighters found two people on the first floor, 11 people on the second floor, one person in a stairwell between the second and third floors, and 19 people on the stairwell between the third floor and the rooftop. Of those killed, police have reported that 21 were women and 14 were men.

Kyoto Prefectural Police have already apprehended a 41-year-old man who allegedly used gasoline to start the fire, and are investigating the case as arson. The suspect is among those injured (although he is separate from the above-mentioned injured people). Police have not yet released an official statement on the suspect’s motive.

The Mainichi Shimbun newspaper stated that according to investigative sources, the suspect told police that he started the fire because he alleges Kyoto Animation “stole his novel.” Hatta stated on July 20 that he has never heard the suspect’s name before, and no one by the suspect’s name has submitted a novel to the company. Kyoto Animation solicits drafts of novels as part of its Kyoto Animation Awards program.

In an interview for the mass media on July 20, Kyoto Animation president Hideaki Hatta stated that after the fire, he is considering demolishing the building and creating a public park at the spot of the fire that will include a monument. He added, “when I consider the staff and the people in this neighborhood, there are people who don’t want to see such a gruesome sight.” Hatta is also considering hosting a memorial ceremony for the victims.

He also told the press that all the messages of support from around the world are “becoming our emotional support.”

Aside from a fire in a commercial building that killed 44 people in 2001 (where arson was suspected), the incident is the worst mass murder in Japan’s post-World War II history.

Several organizations, such as Sentai Filmworks, Crunchyroll, Animate, T-Point Japan, the Japanese Animation Creators Association, and The Association of Japanese Animations, among others, are collecting donations or messages of support to support the company and the victims.

Source: Kyoto Animation, NHK via Hachima Kikō