About 1 a.m. on the morning of Sept. 1, 2001, a fire of undetermined origin swept through the No. 56 Myojo Building in Shinjuku’s Kabukicho district, resulting in the deaths of 44 people on the upper two floors. While investigators say they have ruled out arson, stories in the tabloid press continue to advance the notion that the blaze was set by an unidentified Chinese gangster.

This suspicion may be unfounded, but there’s no question that soaring crimes by Chinese — and Iranians, Colombians and other sojourners in Tokyo’s largest entertainment district — have created a headache for the authorities.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.