TOKYO (TR) – In investigating the cause of a fire that broke out on Tuesday in the historic Golden Gai district of Shinjuku Ward, law enforcement has become aware of a suspicious man who was seen entering the area just before the blaze began, reports Nippon News Network (April 13).
Examination of security camera footage showed the man entering a second-floor restaurant at around 12:30 p.m. The fire is believed to have started one hour later inside the restaurant, which was undergoing remodeling.
By 6:00 p.m., about 40 trucks from the Tokyo Fire Department had extinguished the blaze. The fire burned approximately 300 square meters of space over three buildings in the district, which includes narrow rows of approximately 300 bars and eateries.
According to the Tokyo Fire Department, a 64-year-old woman received treatment for smoke inhalation.
On Wednesday morning, Tokyo Metropolitan Police and the fire department began an inspection of the damaged areas to ascertain the cause of the fire. When the blaze erupted, nobody was inside the second-floor restaurant that was undergoing the remodeling work.
Situated at the edge of the Kabukicho red-light district, the aged buildings in the Golden Gai area create an atmosphere reminiscent of the era immediately following World War II. It attracts numerous photographers, musicians and writers, including, until he died last December, Akiyuki Nosaka. In recent years, Golden Gai has become a popular destination for foreign tourists.
Police are seeking the whereabouts of the person to question him on suspicion of arson.