Runaway Groom Sets Wedding Venue on Fire

A Japanese groom set his wedding site on fire to avoid getting married again.

ByABC News
October 27, 2008, 10:03 AM

TOKYO, Oct. 27, 2008 — -- A 39-year-old Japanese groom-to-be set his wedding site on fire in central Japan Saturday in an apparent attempt to sabotage his own wedding.

Japanese police arrested Tatsuhiko Kawata, an office worker, early Sunday morning after investigators said he confessed he was responsible for the hotel fire.

Police would not confirm a report by a Japanese newspaper that Kawata wanted to get out of the wedding because he was already secretly married to someone else.

According to the Yamanashi Prefectural Police, Kawata showed up at the Risonare, a hotel in Yamanashi Prefecture, 90 miles northwest of Tokyo, early Saturday morning -- the day he was supposed to tie the knot.

A hotel employee who did not want to be identified told ABC News that the fire alarm and extinguisher were activated immediately.

He said the hotel is still assessing the damage, but it seems minimal. The employee also said the hotel evacuated about 150 guests, but they were all able to go back to their rooms that evening after the fire department confirmed the hotel was safe.

The Japanese daily Yomiuri Shinbun, which reported that Kawata was already married, said the suspect told the police that he had "a reason not to go through the wedding" and that he believed setting the place on fire would help him avoid it.

Police said officers visited the suspect's residence to interview him, and that was where the suspect admitted his wrongdoing.