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.