Trial of KyoAni arsonist to begin in September, ruling due in January

The trial of a man charged with committing arson at a Japanese animation studio will start in September. Thirty-six employees of Kyoto Animation were killed and 32 others were injured in the attack more than four years ago.

The Kyoto District Court announced on Friday that the trial of Aoba Shinji will open on September 5.

The court plans to hold 32 sessions before issuing a ruling on January 25 next year.

Aoba was indicted on charges of murder and arson in the attack on the animation studio in July 2019.

The announcement came after the court, prosecutors and Aoba's defense team began pre-trial proceedings to narrow down key issues and evidence.

Prosecutors conducted a psychiatric evaluation of the defendant before the indictment, and concluded that he is mentally fit to be held criminally responsible.

A second evaluation was held later by request from his defense team.

One point of contention is expected to be Aoba's mental state at the time of the arson.

The arson attack was the deadliest murder case in Japan since 1989.