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Chongryon files appeal with Supreme Court to block Tokyo HQ sale

Kyodo

The pro-Pyongyang group Chongryon filed an appeal Friday with the Supreme Court to block the sale of its headquarters building and land in Tokyo to a real estate company.

The group, also known as the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, is seeking to overturn a Tokyo High Court ruling May 12 that upheld a lower court decision approving the sale to Marunaka Holdings, based in Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture.

Regardless of the appeal’s status, ownership of the property will move to Marunaka Holdings after it pays the price of ¥2.21 billion.

The Tokyo District Court decided in 2012 to auction Chongryon’s HQ as sought by the state-backed Resolution and Collection Corp. Chongryon owes the debt collection entity about ¥62.7 billion following the collapse of financial institutions that served pro-Pyonyang Korean residents in Japan.

The auction was held in March 2013 and won by Saifuku Temple in Kagoshima Prefecture with ¥4.52 billion bid. But the Buddhist temple, whose chief priest Ekan Ikeguchi is known to have close ties with senior North Korean officials and Chongryon, failed to make the deadline and was barred from the new auction.

In the second round last October, a Mongolian company identified as Avar Limited Liability Co. offered the highest price of ¥5.01 billion.

Later, the district court said the result was invalid as some of the documents submitted by the Mongolian company were copies rather than originals.

It picked Marunaka Holdings as the successful bidder.

Marunaka Holdings says it is seeking the property for investment purposes and will ask Chongryon to vacate.