The threats. The scares. The toxic chemicals. The man allegedly behind all of those has been arrested.
According to NHK, police arrested 36 year-old Hirofumi Watanabe this Sunday. The Osaka resident was arrested for putting a container filled with a chemical that emitted potentially deadly hydrogen sulfide fumes at a Sophia University gymnasium in Tokyo in Fall 2012. Thankfully, no one was hurt.
Manga creator Tadatoshi Fujimaki of Kuroko’s Basketball fame had attended the university.
At that time, a letter from the alleged attacker read, “I hate Tadatoshi Fujimaki, who is now a famous Sophia University alumnus. I wanted to take revenge on Fujimaki himself, but could not find his location. I had no other choice but to target here.”
The captured Watanabe is quoted by Jiji Press as saying, “I’m sorry,” adding, “I’ve lost.”
Since October of last year, threatening letters were sent to the publisher of Kuroko’s Basketball as well as retailers. In October of this year, a letter was sent to the 7-Eleven convenience store chain from an individual claiming that they had put poison in new Kuroko’s Basketball wafer candies, leading the chain to recall all of their stock.
As previously noted, threats have been sent to major rental chain Tsutaya, demanding that all Kuroko’s Basketball related items be removed from all 1,450 stores by November 3 or else customers will be harmed. Tsutaya complied as similar threats were sent to four other book retail chains, one of which also complied with the demands.
Hundreds of frightening letters were sent to companies. The Comic Market was also terrorized with Kuroko’s Basketball threats, resulting in Kuroko fan artists being banned from Comiket. It wasn’t just big events that were under attack. Even a fan get together at a bowling alley was threatened, leading to its cancellation.
For over a year, the terrorist eluded police. As ANN reports, the alleged suspect was caught on a 7-Eleven security camera this past October at a shop in Chiba, outside Tokyo, in which a Kuroko’s Basketball snack was discovered “suspiciously” sealed and spiked with a 1/100th lethal dose of nicotine.
The security camera footage revealed that the alleged suspect carried a black backpack with two characteristic stripes. Jiji Press reports that an investigator spotted the backpack at Osaka Station and tailed Watanabe all the way to Tokyo, where he then questioned the suspect as he approached a postal box in Tokyo’s Ebisu. Threatening letters were found in Watanabe’s backpack. It’s believed that the suspect mailed his threats from post boxes far from his residence in Osaka to avoid being caught.
“I was jealous of the success of Basketball’s creator,” Watanabe is quoted as saying by Yoimuri Online. “I acted alone.” NHK reports that police do not believe Watanabe and the manga creator knew each other personally.
Update: Courtesy of 2ch, here is a Japanese TV news screenshot of the suspect.
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