TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested a 40-year-old man for allegedly starting a fire at a coffee shop in Shinjuku Ward on Monday, reports NHK (Sept. 18).
At just past 11:00 a.m., Shinichi Harako, of no known occupation, allegedly used a cigarette lighter to ignite a magazine and toilet paper inside a private room of the basement manga kissa coffee shop, located in the Shinjuku 3-chome area.
The subsequent fire damaged 20 square meters of space inside the coffee shop, including a wall and the floor. All 10 customers and employees managed to flee the building unharmed, police said.
“Because life had become difficult, I thought about whether to stab a person or start a fire,” police quoted Harako, who is a resident of Ichikawa City, Chiba Prefecture.
Police are continuing the investigation in light of the fact that there could have been a significant number of casualties if the fire spread rapidly or evacuation of the building was delayed.