Homeless man admits to starting Golden Gai blaze

Hiroshi Haruna, who already faces trespassing charges, told police: 'I started the fire with a lighter'

A fire broke out in the historic Golden Gai district of Shinjuku Ward on April 12
A fire broke out in the historic Golden Gai district of Shinjuku Ward on April 12

TOKYO (TR) – Investigative sources with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police revealed on Wednesday that a homeless man has admitted to starting a fire that damaged a number of buildings in the historic Golden Gai district last month, reports Fuji News Network (May 12).

Hiroshi Haruna, 66, who was already in custody on charges of trespassing, told police that he was responsible for the fire, which began on the afternoon of April 12. “I started it with a lighter,” the suspect is quoted by police in admitting to arson.

Surveillance camera footage showed Haruna entering a building in the district on the ground floor and moving upstairs to a second-floor restaurant, which was undergoing remodeling, at approximately 12:30 p.m..

He departed the building after spending five minutes inside. The fire was spotted about one hour later inside the restaurant.

The fire burned approximately 300 square meters of space over three buildings in the district, which includes narrow rows of approximately 300 bars and eateries.

Haruna was subsequently questioned and arrested for illegal entry. He later told police that he had been in search of cash and valuables.

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