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Death toll from December Osaka psychiatric clinic arson stands at 26

The death toll from a suspected arson attack on a mental health clinic in Osaka in December has risen to 26, police said on Monday.

Photo taken on March 7, 2022, shows a building in Osaka that was hit by a deadly fire in December 2021. (Kyodo)

A woman in her 30s, who had been unconscious since the December 17 incident, died early Monday, bringing the total death toll to 27, including Morio Tanimoto who is suspected of murder and arson.

Of the 26 victims, 24 died on the day of the incident and another was confirmed dead on December 21.

Among the victims were regular visitors to the clinic and its director, Kotaro Nishizawa, 49.

Tanimoto had been a patient at the clinic since 2017. He died on December 30 of encephalopathy caused by carbon monoxide poisoning caused by the fire.

Footage from security cameras installed at the clinic appears to show Tanimoto, 61, placing a paper bag in front of the reception area, after which the fire was seen rising rapidly to the ceiling, investigative sources said.

Police aim to refer the case to prosecutors later this month. Notes of whereabouts at the clinic were found on Tanimoto’s smartphone from June, suggesting he had planned the attack in advance.


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