In the early hours of Jan. 17, 1995, the Great Hanshin Earthquake struck southern Hyogo Prefecture and the surrounding areas, causing more than 6,000 deaths and seriously damaging infrastructure.

For the next several days, most Japanese stayed glued to their TV sets. Few noticed that a monthly magazine named Marco Polo — which had gone on sale the same morning as the Hanshin disaster — had run a 10-page article titled "There were no Nazi gas chambers."

Written by a Japanese physician, based on secondary sources and with virtually no primary research, the article essentially claimed the Holocaust, which culminated in the genocide of some two-thirds of the Jews in Europe, had not occurred.