The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has launched procedures to seize facilities owned by the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryun) over unpaid taxes, documents filed with authorities showed Tuesday.

Tokyo and other local governments recently ended the pro-Pyongyang group’s tax-exempt status as suspicions surfaced alleging links to drug smuggling and illegal export of missile parts.

Other prefectures have also begun to demand fixed-asset taxes and other dues from Chongryun, but this is the first time a local government has moved to seize its facilities.

According to Tokyo government officials, the land and buildings to be seized are Chongryun’s headquarters in Chiyoda Ward, and its Tokyo chapter office and publishing unit, both in Bunkyo Ward.

In mid-July, the metropolitan government sent a bill to Chongryun for fixed asset taxes and urban planning taxes estimated at tens of millions of yen, payable in four installments. The tax for the headquarters is said to be around 42 million yen.

Chongryun issued a statement in July urging the metropolitan government to continue exempting it from taxes because it has served as a virtual diplomatic representative in Japan for North Korea.

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