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Homeless man to be prosecuted for arson in Golden Gai fire

Hiroshi Haruna
Hiroshi Haruna

TOKYO (TR) – Investigative sources revealed on Wednesday that a homeless man who has admitted to starting a fire that damaged a number of buildings in the historic Golden Gai district will be prosecuted for arson, reports the Asahi Shimbun (June 22).

Hiroshi Haruna, 66, who is already under prosecution for trespassing, is expected to be sent to prosecutors on charges of starting a fire in an inhabited building.

The fire, which began on the afternoon of April 12, burned approximately 300 square meters of space over three buildings in the district. It was extinguished a few hours after it began.

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.

Haruna was subsequently questioned and arrested for illegal entry. He later admitted to starting the fire. “I started it with a lighter,” the suspect is quoted by police. However, he added that he does not recall his motive or where he started the blaze.

Golden Gai includes narrow rows of approximately 300 bars and eateries.