Chongryon head office up for auction

Kyodo

The Tokyo District Court said Monday it will accept bids from March 12 to 19 on the headquarters of a pro-Pyongyang residents’ body in an auction to recoup loans to the group by the government-backed Resolution and Collection Corp.

Up for sale is the central Tokyo head office of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, known as Chongryon.

Built in 1986, the 10-story office has two basement floors and is on a 2,300-sq.-meter tract in Chiyoda Ward. Its benchmark price is set at about ¥2.668 billion and its minimum bidding price at about ¥2.134 billion. The winner of the auction, which Chongryon cannot participate in, is expected to be decided on March 29.

Chongryon acts as North Korea’s de facto embassy in Japan in the absence of diplomatic relations between the two countries. It could be forced to move out of its head office unless it is able to rent it from the winner of the auction. In that case, security authorities believe Chongryon would move to a building in Tokyo’s Bunkyo Ward that presently houses a related organization.