Defendant pleads not guilty to video parlor arson in Osaka
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Last Updated: Monday, September 14, 2009, 19:53
Osaka: A 47-year-old man today pleaded not guilty at the Osaka District Court to charges of arson and murder in connection with a fire at a video-viewing establishment in Osaka nearly a year ago that left 16 people dead and four others injured.

"I did not commit arson," Kazuhiro Ogawa said at the first hearing of his trial, at which his defense lawyers argued it was possible that the fire broke out in a different room from the one occupied by Ogawa and the real culprit remains at large.

The defense team also argued it is highly likely that a cigarette caused the fire even it is assumed that the fire originated in Ogawa's room.

Prosecutors contended that Ogawa felt his life was meaningless at the time of the incident after quitting his job and getting divorced, saying he felt "too miserable to live" and committed the crime.

"(Ogawa) paused for a moment to think what would happen to the other customers, but he was so desperate that he set fire while 'feeling sorry for those would die along with me,'" according to the prosecutors.

Investigators said previously that Ogawa had admitted to the arson charges immediately after his arrest. The defense team is arguing against the validity of Ogawa's initial confession and is planning to use a DVD recording of his questioning as evidence.

Bureau Report

First Published: Monday, September 14, 2009, 19:53

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