OSAKA (Reuters) – The perpetrator of a suspected arson at a psychiatry clinic in the Japanese city of Osaka that killed 24 people cannot be forgiven, a patient told media a day after the fire ripped through the fourth floor of a downtown office building.

“I just cannot forgive the person who has done this,” a patient of the clinic in his 20s told reporters gathered at the scene, declining to give his name.

“I want the one who is responsible to pay for the crime according to law,” he said.

Mourners placed bouquets of flowers and offerings of beer and water on a makeshift table in the front of the building, which was covered in blue plastic sheets and guarded by police.

“I wanted them to have something warm,” said a 34-year-old care worker, who placed a can on coffee on the table.

“I prayed that an incident like this will never happen again,” he said, while fighting back tears.

The fire broke out on Friday morning after a man entered the clinic carrying a bag of liquid which caught fire after he set it down near a heater and kicked it, a police spokesperson said.

The 61-year-old man was a patient of the clinic and is in a critical condition in hospital, public broadcaster NHK said. There was a smaller fire in front of the man’s house 30 minutes before the clinic blaze, NHK reported.

In 2019 an arson attack at an animation studio in the city of Kyoto killed 36 people and injured dozens. A 2001 fire at a building in Tokyo’s Kabukicho entertainment district killed 44 people.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Writing by Sam Nussey; Editing by Michael Perry)



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