Victims Mourned 2 Years after Arson Attack on Osaka Building

Jiji Press
Mourners pray for the victims of an arson attack at a clinic in front of the building that housed the clinic in Osaka City on Sunday, which was the second anniversary of the incident.

OSAKA (Jiji Press) — Bereaved relatives and others mourned on Sunday victims of an arson attack at a clinic in a multitenant building in Osaka City two years ago.

In front of the building, mourners laid flowers and offered prayers for the victims.

A couple from Osaka Prefecture lost their daughter in her 30s in the incident. The husband visits the site every month.

“I have not forgotten my daughter even for a day,” the wife said in tears. “My daughter must have been able to live longer and longer, so I really want her back.”

Ippei Kitaguchi, 40, from the city of Kadoma, Osaka Prefecture, who lost a friend from a vocational school in the arson attack, visited the site for the first time since the incident.

Even after he learned of his friend’s death, Kitaguchi thought that “the information may be wrong” and sent messages to the friend several times through the Line app.

As there was no reply, however, Kitaguchi had no choice but to accept the reality.

In the incident on the morning of Dec. 17, 2021, a man, then 61, who was a former patient of the psychosomatic clinic located on the fourth floor of the building, set fire at the clinic. The number of victims totaled 26, including Kotaro Nishizawa, then 49, head of the medical facility.

Nishizawa’s younger sister, Nobuko, 46, also visited the site of the incident Sunday and offered a prayer.

The suspected attacker, Morio Tanimoto, also died in the incident. Officials of the church that accepted the remains of Tanimoto gathered in front of the building Sunday and sang a song for the victims of the attack.

The Osaka prefectural police sent to public prosecutors papers on Tanimoto for charges including arson on a building while the suspect was dead.

In March 2022, the Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office decided not to indict him.