Chongryon building remains under North Korean control

JIJI

The Tokyo headquarters of the Pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, or Chongryon, remains under the control of North Korea even after its sale in a court-administered auction, it was learned on Wednesday.

The building and the land it stands on are mortgaged to a Chongryon-affiliated company on whose board sit a former member of the Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea and a former president of Korea News Service, a North Korean news agency, people familiar with the situation said.

Records show ownership of the building and land was transferred to a real estate firm in Sakata, Yamagata Prefecture, on Jan. 28 from a real estate company in Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture, which place the successful auction bid.

The fact that the property is mortgaged to a Chongryon-affiliated company suggests the organization played a role in shifting ownership to the Sakata real estate firm, people close to Japanese public security authorities said.

The Sakata real estate firm is expected to lease the property to Chongryon so that it can continue using the building, informed sources said.