Man accused of setting psychiatric clinic fire that killed 24 in Osaka, Japan

Osaka, Japan. Image: Google Maps

Dec. 19 (UPI) — A Japanese man suspected of setting fire to a psychiatric clinic Friday morning has been named by Osaka police after the blaze killed dozens of people.

Morio Tanimoto, 61, was among the survivors taken to the hospital where he remains in critical condition with two other survivors, The New York Times reported Sunday. There were 28 people taken for treatment but 24 were later pronounced dead.

Tanimoto has not yet been arrested or charged but is being investigated on suspicion of arson and murder, police told The Times.

Investigators have recovered security camera footage that allegedly shows Tanimoto standing at the exit blocking it with his arms outstretched, Japan’s public broadcaster NHK reported. According to the Times, the eight-story building was constructed in 1970 and had just one stairwell.

The video footage allegedly shows Tanimoto kicking over a paper bag containing a potentially flammable liquid after placing it near a heater in the clinic’s waiting room, causing it to then catch on fire.

Tanimoto was potentially a patient at the clinic and cops have recovered his registration card to receive care at the clinic, according to Kyodo News. The outlet reported that the clinic was scheduled to have a group therapy session to help patients on temporary sick leave return to work.

A former sheet metal worker, Tanimatio had worked at a factory in Osaka until 2010 when he quit for unknown reasons. He was arrested in 2011 after he was suspected of stabbing his son with a kitchen knife.


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