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Gundam 00 Assistant Director Masaki Kitamura Released by Police

posted on by Egan Loo
Authorities investigate if virus infection led to massacre threat from Kitamura's PC

The District Public Prosecutor's Office of Osaka released 42-year-old anime technical director Masaki Kitamura, after determining that it is possible that he had nothing to do with the massacre threat posted on the city's website in July.

The authorities determined that Kitamura's computer was infected by a virus, and that a third party had then remotely posted the massacre threat via Kitamura's computer. The public broadcaster NHK noted that it is very unusual for the Japanese police and prosecutors to arrest and charge a defendant, only to release him without a trial.

The authorities had arrested Kitamura in August. They had accused him of going to Osaka's inquiry page on the Internet and writing, "I will commit a massacre in Otaroad [in Osaka's Nipponbashi area] next Sunday. I will ram into pedestrian paradise, and after stabbing indiscriminately with a knife, I will commit suicide" on July 29 at about 9:45 p.m.

"Pedestrian paradise" is the traditional practice of cordoning vehicles off a particular street or streets and limiting the area to foot traffic. Nipponbashi's Otaroad is essentially Osaka's otaku shopping counterpart to Tokyo's Akihabara.

According to the authorities, they analyzed the IP address that originated the threat and discovered it was linked to a high-speed wireless LAN device owned by Kitamura. They also suspected that Kitamura's computer was the source of an August 1 message that told Japan Airlines, "I prepared an explosive device on a passenger plane."

The suspect had denied the charges, saying, "I'm completely innocent."

Kitamura was an assistant director on both seasons of Mobile Suit Gundam 00. He was also a director of the 10th installment of Gundam Evolve and an episode director on Ergo Proxy, GUNxSWORD, Intrigue in the Bakumatsu - Irohanihoheto, Planetes, Wolf's Rain, and other series.

Sources: Jiji Press, NHK

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