Arson attack at animation studio in Japan

At least 33 people are dead and dozens injured in an arson attack at an animation studio in Kyoto, Japan.

Police said the 41-year-old suspect broke into the Kyoto Animation studio on Thursday morning and sprayed petrol before igniting it.

A motive for the apparent attack remained unclear hours after the blaze.

If arson is confirmed, the attack will be among the deadliest criminal acts in decades in Japan, where violent crime is extremely rare.

The fire gutted the three-storey building in the city of Kyoto that housed Kyoto Animation, behind famous anime television productions.

The incident sparked an outpouring of support from the industry and fans worldwide, including a viral fundraising campaign.

“I saw people who were totally black or covered in blood, or who had suffered burns all over their body,” a 53-year-old woman told the Kyodo news agency.

Public broadcaster NHK reported that a man had been detained in connection with the blaze and was later taken to hospital for treatment. He reportedly suffered serious injuries in the fire.

NHK said the suspect had poured a gasoline-like substance around the building and said “drop dead” as he set fire to it.