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Posts possibly written by Kyoto Animation arson suspect say company rejected manuscript

People pay tribute to the victims of a deadly arson attack on Kyoto Animation's 1st Studio, in Kyoto's Fushimi Ward on July 24, 2019. (Mainichi/Naohiro Yamada)

KYOTO -- Police say there is a possibility Kyoto Animation arson suspect Shinji Aoba was behind bulletin board posts found online that indicate that the company rejected a manuscript the internet user submitted to the company.

It has already emerged that a person whose name and address matched those of Aoba sent a work to Kyoto Animation Co. but the work failed to win approval.

Aoba, 41, shouted to Kyoto Prefectural Police when they arrested him shortly after the July 18 arson attack that he set fire to the firm's 1st studio in Kyoto's Fushimi Ward because the company stole his novel.

The posts appeared online between September and November last year. Naming Kyoto Animation, the author of the post stated that the company had dropped their manuscript. Other posts stated "I was betrayed by Kyoto Animation," and included the phrases "knock down my manuscript and betray me," "break into Kyoto Animation with a bomb," "indiscriminate terrorism," and "going to prison in 2012."

Aoba was arrested over a crime in 2012 and served time in a prison in the Kanto region of Japan. The specific area of the prison was mentioned in the online comments.

It has been confirmed that about 200 messages including threats to the company and death threats against at least one specific employee were posted to Kyoto Animation's website last autumn.

Because some of the information in the bulletin board posts matched Aoba's language and his history, police suspect they were written by him, and they plan to carefully analyze a computer and mobile phone seized from his home.

(Japanese original by Hiroshi Odanaka, Satoshi Fukutomi and Nao Goto, reporting from Kyoto)

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