Kyoto Shimbun Reports Discrepancy Between Police, KyoAni Victims' Families
posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
The Kyoto Prefectural Police released the names of 25 of the 35 victims who died in the July 18 fire at Kyoto Animation's Studio 1 building to Japanese news agencies on August 27. Kyoto Prefectural Police and Japan's National Police Agency (NPA) had been in disagreement over releasing the 25 remaining victims' names, with the NPA maintaining that the names should have only been released after consent from the relatives of the victims had been obtained.
Daisuke Okeda, the lawyer Kyoto Animation has hired to provide communications to the public about the fire, also commented on the day of the announcement and said that the prefectural police's decision was "extremely regrettable." Okeda asked that the media respect the privacy of the victims and the bereaved.
However, the Kyoto Shimbun newspaper reported on the day after the August 27 release of names that it had talked to some families that did not oppose the release. According to the paper, at least some of the families that the prefectural police had said denied consent told the newspaper that they did not deny consent. One family added that they thought that the police not announcing the names was unusual, and had been appealing to the police to release the names.
The Kyoto Shimbun noted that the Kyoto Prefectural Police had tried to meet with the families prior to the announcement of the remaining 25 names, but some of the families refused to meet with the police. The newspaper cited an individual involved with the investigation who stated that, "getting the opinions of all involved has proven to be extremely difficult."
The newspaper cited one parent of a victim, who said that the police had not asked for their wishes to announce the victim's name or not. The parent also commented that they did not understand why the police did not ask them.
Japanese police not revealing the names of the deceased in certain incidents is not unprecedented. Authorities similarly held back in revealing the names of the seven victims of a hotel fire in Fukushima city in May 2012, as well as the names of 19 people killed in a mass murder in a care facility in Sagamihara city in July 2016.
Source: Kyoto Shimbun
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