Disability Japan Mental Health Osaka Building Arson

Police Send Papers on Dead Suspect in Osaka Arson Attack

After the suspect's death, police sought to uncover the motive for the attack by analyzing his smartphone. But the investigation has now been terminated.

From Jiji & Kyodo

March 16 2022

OSAKA – Police in the western Japan prefecture of Osaka sent papers to public prosecutors Wednesday on the deceased suspect for a devastating arson attack at a mental health clinic last December.

Prosecutors are expected not to file an indictment against suspect Morio Tanimoto over the alleged murders and arson.

Morimoto had been a patient at the clinic in the western Japan city’s Kita Ward since 2017 and visited there a total of 114 times. He died on Dec. 30 after being taken to a hospital from the clinic in critical condition.

At the time of the incident, he had no money in his bank account and no log of phone calls with acquaintances.

On the day of the incident, a number of people visited the clinic for a scheduled group therapy session to help individuals on leaves of absence to return to work.

Police believe Tanimoto was planning an arson attack on a Friday when the clinic is typically crowded.

Data on the smartphone’s schedule app indicated he started checking the flow of patients in June last year, the sources said. The police found from data on his smartphone that he was looking into “extended suicide,” in which individual who wishes to die commits mass murder, in October last year, investigative sources said.

Investigators were unable to question Tanimoto, who died without regaining consciousness on Dec. 30 at the age of 61 after being taken to hospital from the scene of the crime in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest.

After the suspect’s death, police sought to uncover the motive for the attack by analyzing his smartphone. But the investigation has now been terminated.

Tanimoto is suspected of pouring gasoline around the entrance of the mental clinic on the fourth floor of a multi-tenant building in the city of Osaka at around 10:15 a.m. (1:15 a.m. GMT) on Dec. 17 last year and setting it on fire, killing 26 people including clinic head Kotaro Nishizawa, 49, and patients.

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